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When To See A Doctor

Antibiotics should not be taken to treat mucus unless prescribed by a doctor.

Mucus is not usually a serious concern.

Many believe that colored mucus coming from the nose indicates a bacterial infection. However, it may instead show that the immune system is fighting a virus, or that a person is merely dehydrated.

Because yellow or green mucus from the nose does not necessarily signal a bacterial infection, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) warn that a person does not need antibiotics based on this symptom alone. Antibiotics cannot treat viruses, and overuse may cause other health problems.

Outside research has confirmed that the color of phlegm is not a good indicator of bacterial infection in otherwise healthy adults who have acute coughs. However, coughing colored phlegm from the lungs can indicate a bacterial infection or other illness, and may need to be evaluated by a doctor.

Most causes of phlegm and mucus are minor illnesses that must be allowed to run their course.

Occasionally, excess phlegm and mucus can indicate a more serious condition. See a doctor if the problem is severe, persistent, or does not improve with Phlegm-Away.

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