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Dr. Andrew Rynne
MD
Dr. Andrew Rynne

Family Physician

Exp 50 years

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What Causes Productive Cough With Thick Yellow Sputum?

Is a productive cough with thick dark yellow or grey sputum in keeping w the flu? Or would it be a sign of bacterial infection. Other symptoms (headaches, body aches, fatigue, fever up to 38.7, chills but not rigors, sore throat, dry paroxysmal cough, sudden onset over hours, duration 3rd day now) sound like they could be the flu in which case i assume rest, supportive care and no antibiotics is appropriate for an otherwise healthy person with no chronic underlying problems. Kindly advise. My doctor's office doesn't have w/e coverage. Thx
Fri, 22 Sep 2017
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Pulmonologist 's  Response
Hello ! Thick yellow sputum is suggestive more of bacterial infection for which you will need the right choice if antibiotic. You can empirically take a course of Tab. Amoxyclav or Tab. Azithromycin along with tab. pantoprazole. One way to differentiate whether it is viral or bacterial is to go for a complete blood count with differential counts , and blood C- Reactive protein assay . However in your case it is rather cost effective to take a course of antibiotic and look for the improvement , rather than spend on these tests. You can get a sputum culture sensitivity done before starting antibiotic as this test tells which organism has caused your Infection and what antibiotic will act against. This test is also not mandatory . Along with medications, do warm saline gargle and gargle with betadine solution (after diluting few drops in a glass of lukewarm water) thrice daily. Consume only warm fluids.
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What Causes Productive Cough With Thick Yellow Sputum?

Hello ! Thick yellow sputum is suggestive more of bacterial infection for which you will need the right choice if antibiotic. You can empirically take a course of Tab. Amoxyclav or Tab. Azithromycin along with tab. pantoprazole. One way to differentiate whether it is viral or bacterial is to go for a complete blood count with differential counts , and blood C- Reactive protein assay . However in your case it is rather cost effective to take a course of antibiotic and look for the improvement , rather than spend on these tests. You can get a sputum culture sensitivity done before starting antibiotic as this test tells which organism has caused your Infection and what antibiotic will act against. This test is also not mandatory . Along with medications, do warm saline gargle and gargle with betadine solution (after diluting few drops in a glass of lukewarm water) thrice daily. Consume only warm fluids.