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Scratchy throat and cough, spitting out white particles. Using cough drops and on mucinex. Anything else?

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Practicing since : 2002
Answered : 2565 Questions
Hi, I have had a scratchy throat and cough for about 6 days now. It feels like I have a hair stuck in my throat. I don't have a lot of drainage but I do have some. Sometimes it's a productive cough, sometimes not, but it is keeping me up at night. Now I am coughing up small white particles. I do not have my tonsils anymore. Cough drops help a little and I have taken mucinex dm, no difference. I do not necessarily feel bad and am not running fever. This is getting old. Help!:-)
Posted Sun, 29 Apr 2012 in Ear, Nose and Throat Problems
Answered by Dr. Robert Galamaga 5 hours later
Hello and thank you for submitting your question.

Your question is a very good one and I will work on providing you with some good information and recommendations regarding what you're dealing with. From the information you have submitted I really believe that you weren't feeling with a viral syndrome. Sometimes with this type of syndrome you can develop a significant degree of irritation of the soft mucosa which lines the upper part of your airway as well as the back of your throat.

When this tissue becomes irritated it can sometimes lead to an inflammatory response. Some of the tissue can slough off with coughing and you might end up expressing this as particulate matter in some of your sputum. I am sure this is something which provide you a significant degree of concern but let me reassure you that these symptoms will gradually cleared within the next 7 to 10 days.

A question which is often asked by patients is when do I need an antibiotic and that is a difficult question to answer sometimes. I would say that if you develop a significant degree of persistent fevers or if you notice that your secretions start changing color more towards a yellow or XXXXXXX nature that you might consider discussing your symptoms with your doctor who may provide you with a general antibiotic. I am sure you are aware of the fact that physicians try to restrict use of antibiotics only to those patients who truly need them. In your case it is not indicated right now but if your symptoms do not clear or if they change as I have indicated you might be a candidate for treatment.

Right now you should make a real priority of hydrating yourself adequately with water. I would recommend that you drink at least 8 to 10 glasses of water per day. I would also recommend that you take a multivitamin as well as supplementary vitamin see each day for the next 10 days. this will help support your immune system. also if there is anything in your environment which might be a exacerbating your symptoms such as animal hair or animal dander as well as dust I would recommend that you try to limit your exposure to these things for the next few days. As far as over-the-counter preparations you might benefit from over the counter Claritin or zero tech which may help limit some of your secretions.

Again I am confident that your symptoms will slowly resolve over the next seven or 10 days. Continue with the recommendations which I have provided to help support your immune system. I thank you again for submitting your question. If you have any additional concerns I would be happy to address them.


Dr. Ron
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