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Dr. Andrew Rynne

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Sputum coughed up from lungs is discolored. Sort of brownish.

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Dr. Arnab Banerjee

Critical Care Specialist

Practicing since :2012

Answered : 1208 Questions

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Posted on Fri, 28 Dec 2018 in Ear, Nose and Throat Problems
Question: Sputum coughed up from lungs is discolored. Sort of brownish. Have had the flu. What does the off-color indicate?
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Answered by Dr. Arnab Banerjee 58 minutes later
Brief Answer:
could be due to stagnation of mucus and debris inside the respiratory tract...

Detailed Answer:
Hello and Welcome to 'Ask A Doctor' service...
I've gone through your query in details...
I can understand your concerns...

Well, as per your description, this could be secondary to the flu only where there tends to be stagnation of mucus and debris inside the respiratory tract...

As of now, for symptomatic relief, I'd suggest the following:

-Start doing Chlorhexidine gargle twice daily and lukewarm saline gargle twice daily in an alternate fashion...avoid going to any overcrowded places for the time being, if at all she needs to visit, then use a face mask.

-Take some steam inhalation twice to thrice daily, it'll help to ease the associated symptoms to some extent and clear the secretions/drainage...

-Avoid any form of cold-drinks, dairy products and sour foods as they can further aggravate this situation...

-Please drink a lot of fluids. Have plenty of warm liquids (soups, broth, porridge etc.), they'll act as an immunity booster and fasten the recovery.

-If there's body ache, you may take ACETAMINOPHEN (eg. Tylenol) 650mg three times daily and observe the progress...

If this has only happened occasionally then not to worry...However, if there's persistence beyond a few days, getting any nose congestion, fever also, then you should get it checked up by a physician as there may be a need to start prescription based combination antibiotics and decongestant therapy (generally, in my patients I'd advice Sudafed as decongestant and antibiotic Co-Amoxiclav twice daily for 5-7days)...

Let me know if I can assist you further...

Take Care
Kind Regards


Above answer was peer-reviewed by : Dr. Arnab Banerjee
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