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What is Phlegm?

The Juice of Life

What is Phlegm?

Phlegm is a type of mucus produced in the lungs and lower respiratory tract. It is most noticeable when a person is acutely sick or has a longstanding health condition.

Mucus forms a protective lining in certain parts of the body, even when a person is well. Mucus keeps these areas from drying out and helps to defend against invaders, including viruses and bacteria.

Though a healthy body requires some mucus, too much can be uncomfortable. Excess may be caused by:

  • infections, such as the common cold or flu
  • allergies
  • irritation of the nose, throat, or lungs
  • digestive conditions, such as gastroesophageal reflux disease
  • smoking tobacco products