Phlegm, also called sputum, is a sticky, mucous liquid produced by the lungs or bronchi. When sputum, which is composed of water, protein, and lipids, is secreted, which is known as the normal daily amount of secretion, about 100ml slightly covers the surface of the bronchial tubes and helps to keep the mucous membranes moist at all times, protecting the bronchial tubes from physical stimuli. It acts as a defense against various pathological factors that are introduced from the outside by immune substances.
However, when the secretion and discharge of sputum increases due to various factors, various symptoms such as stuffiness and foreign body sensation are felt, which causes great discomfort. In addition, when sputum is abnormally discharged due to various causative diseases, coughing becomes more frequent and accompanied by symptoms such as shortness of breath and high fever. Now, let’s take a closer look at the main causes of phlegm and the various methods that can help you get rid of it.
What causes phlegm
The normally secreted sputum is colorless or transparent and clear in color. Also, in the case of sputum discharge due to a cold, it is often white or transparent. However, in the case of sputum secreted by various diseases such as chronic bronchitis, bronchiectasis, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, and pulmonary edema, the color, concentration, and viscosity are different. If the sputum is yellowish-yellow in color and the amount is large, it may be due to chronic bronchitis or asthma.
In addition, yellow-green sputum may be caused by influenza bacillus infection or P. aeruginosa infection. In the case of blood sputum mixed with blood, it may be caused by tuberculosis, laryngitis, pneumonia, or lung cancer. Therefore, if the sputum is yellow, blue, or red, it is important to visit the hospital to properly diagnose and treat the disease causing the sputum discharge. It is also important to improve several habits that aggravate excessive production and discharge of sputum.
how to get rid of phlegm
1. Drinking enough water
Drinking plenty of water is the most important management habit to get rid of and reduce phlegm. When the bacteria invading the bronchi and the cells in the body fight, debris is produced in this process and the secretion of sputum increases. They say it helps a lot.
2. Gargle with salt water
In addition to drinking enough water, gargling with salt water can help get rid of phlegm. In particular, if sputum is generated due to inflammation of the bronchial tubes, gargling with sea salt or bamboo salt can be effective in reducing sputum discharge.
3. No smoking
The volatile substances contained in tobacco stimulate the bronchial tubes and cause moisture to evaporate, making the concentration of sputum thicker and acting as the main cause of high viscosity. In addition, if you continue to smoke, the walls of the bronchial tubes thicken, reducing the breathing function, and weakening the ciliary function in the bronchial mucosa, further weakening the ability to spit out. In addition, as tobacco is well known as the biggest risk factor for various bronchial and lung diseases, it is a good way to quit smoking if severe sputum is continuously discharged.
4. Eat foods and tea that are good for phlegm discharge
In order to help the sputum drain smoothly, it is also a good way to consume foods and teas that are good for sputum. In particular, bellflower is a representative food that is good for preventing various bronchial diseases as well as sputum discharge because it can protect the bronchial tubes from pathogens as well as moisten the bronchial tubes with its abundant saponin component. Lemon also has an acidic component that dissolves phlegm. Therefore, it is said that if you drink bellflower or lemon in the form of tea, you can get a good effect to discharge and get rid of phlegm.
In addition, various foods such as pears, radishes, ginger, quince, and loofah are effective in getting rid of phlegm as well as preventing respiratory and bronchial diseases, so it is recommended to consume them regularly.
5. Cover your nose with a warm towel
Putting a towel over your nose after soaking it in hot water can also help get rid of phlegm. When the steam discharged from the warm towel enters the nose, the excessive secretion of mucus from the mucous membrane of the nose is reduced, and the air circulation in the nose and throat becomes smooth, helping phlegm to go down easily. In addition, dry indoor air also causes weakening of bronchial cell function and can cause dryness, so it is important to maintain proper indoor humidity at all times.