Productive cough can have various causes, ranging in severity from 'needs attention' to 'life-threatening'. Finding the true cause means ruling out or confirming each possibility – in other words, diagnosis.
Diagnosis is usually a complex process due to the sheer number of possible causes and related symptoms. In order to diagnose productive cough, we could:
|Weakened Immune System
Do you have a cough that produces mucus (a 'productive cough')?
Possible responses:→ Don't know
→ Yes, for less than a month
→ Yes, for over a month but less than a year
→ Yes, for more than a year
Respiratory symptoms of milk-protein allergy can include coughing, choking, gasping, nose colds, asthma and sneezing attacks. [Annals of Allergy, 1951; p.9]
Not all people with asthma wheeze. For some, chronic coughing, which often occurs during the night or after exercise, may be the only symptom.
A cough with phlegm is a common symptom of pneumonia. Bacterial pneumonia involves a cough that usually produces rust-colored or greenish mucus. Viral pneumonia often produces a dry cough at the beginning, which usually becomes worse and produces a small amount of mucus.
A cough that begins suddenly, sometimes mixed with blood-streaked sputum, is a frequently-seen symptom of pulmonary embolism, but other symptoms are more likely to point to the correct diagnosis.
Tuberculosis of the lung is usually associated with a persistent cough that does not go away. It may start as a dry cough that eventually leads to a productive cough with blood-stained sputum.