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Pauline, Doctor (MD)
Category: Health
Satisfied Customers: 8631
Experience:  Medical Doctor & Registered Pharmacist. Worked as Community pharmacist for 17 years.
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I have been coughing up white foam for a week. Why?

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I have been coughing up white foam for a week. Twice been into hospital, but they only give me saline and I ask to have steam, which helps. All my symptoms are those of Kennel Cough in a dog. I've been told by the doctors my lungs are clear and its more upper respiratory. Though because I only cough up white flem, they don't want to test my mucus. I have Curam 875/125 tablets here. Is it safe to use them ? At present its been tricky getting sleep and I know its not psychological because over a week ago we tried one of those drugs, and two hours after taking one the same thing happened anyway, lost my voice and felt the foamy tight mucus in the upper respiratory area.

As the phlegm is white then this is unlikely to be a bacterial infection and I would not use the Curam owing to risks of developing gastric side effects and resistant bacteria.

It is highly doubtful that this is Kennel Cough. Most adults pick up viral respiratory tract infections from the atmosphere and in a young healthy adult this should improve over the next couple of weeks.

Continue with steam three times daily, drink plenty of water and consider a decongestant if you still have nasal symptoms. Otherwise it will gradually improve over next two weeks.

Customer: replied 8 years ago.

I know you are suggesting three times a day with steam. The problem is I have to do it 8 times or more. And the scariest thing is when it gets stuck and I find it hard to breath (worse than an asthma attack). Is there anything at all that I can do to help myself besides steam and saline?

Do you normally suffer from asthma?

What other medication have you been prescribed for your breathing?

Customer: replied 8 years ago.

My Asthma is apparently good. I do have Asthma, though it has disappeared quite a lot over the years. The machines when I went to the hospital gave me 100% saturation for oxygen when I was loosing my voice with this phlem. I'm now taking Flixotide too though. Also taking Vitamin C, A and D.

Flixotide is a combination of steroid with long acting bronchodilator. You can check with your doctor whether you need to increase this dose short term while you have this infection.

It is not unreasonable to be also taking a short acting bronchodilator up to four times daily (salbuterol/albuterol/terbutaline) to help open the airways and reduce this sensation of reduced air exchange.

You should see a respiratory physiotherapist for techniques to bring up the phlegm without further irritating the airways.

As an asthma patient then you will have increased tendency to mucus production. Do not use cough suppressants or antihistamines as this will only make matters worse.

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