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Diseases of the Lung With Productive Cough Symptoms

author image Lisabetta DiVita
Lisabetta Divita is a physician whose love for writing flourished while she was exposed to all facets of the medical field during her training. Her writings are currently featured in prominent medical magazines and various online publications. She holds a doctorate in medicine, a master's in biomedicine, and a Bachelor of Science in biology from Boston College.
Diseases of the Lung With Productive Cough Symptoms
A doctor examining a chest X-ray. Photo Credit: Artur Gabrysiak/iStock/Getty Images

A cough is a normal bodily reflex that occurs when airways are exposed to an irritant such as pollen or mucus. A cough may be acute or chronic and accompanied by a fever, phlegm, unintentional weight loss and night sweats. Sometimes your cough can be productive of sputum or blood. Specific lung diseases are associated with this symptom.

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According to the Mayo Clinic, bronchitis refers to an inflammation of the tissues lining bronchial tubes (portion of your airway). It's a type of chronic obstructive lung disease (COPD) that can occur for one to two weeks or last greater than three months. Symptoms include a cough productive of clear, yellow, gray or green mucus and trouble breathing, especially with physical activity. Other symptoms include wheezing, fever, chills and tiredness. Over-the-counter acetaminophen or cough suppressants can help quell symptoms. A doctor can also prescribe prescription-strength antibiotics and cough suppressants if over-the-counter remedies don't work. Sometimes, simply using a humidifier and drinking plenty of fluids can remedy bronchitis symptoms.


Tuberculosis (TB) is a very contagious disease caused by the Mycobacterium tuberculosis bacteria. This infection gets into the lungs and can also spread to other parts of your body, such as your spine and brain. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), symptoms of TB include a severe cough productive of sputum or blood that remains for three weeks or longer, weight loss, lack of appetite and fever. Chills, night sweats and fatigue are also possible. A doctor can prescribe a combination of anti-tuberculosis medications such as isoniazid, rifampin, ethambutol or pyrazinimide. Treatment may take two to seven months.


Pneumonia is a bacterial lung infection that causes a cough productive of yellow, green or bloody mucus. According to the American Lung Association, other symptoms include fever, shaking chills, trouble breathing, pleuritic chest pain (pain associated with breathing and coughing), headache, diaphoresis (sweating), poor appetite and confusion. Over-the-counter nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs such as ibuprofen or naproxen are recommended to relieve fever. A doctor can also prescribe antibiotic medications such as levofloxacin or azithromycin.

Lung Cancer

Lung cancer is a devastating condition in which cancerous tumors grow on the lungs and can spread to different parts of the body. According to the National Cancer Institute, lung cancer symptoms include a chronic cough productive of blood, trouble breathing, hoarseness and unintentional weight loss. Chest pain, fatigue and lung infections such as pneumonia are also possible. Available treatment options include surgery, chemotherapy, radiation and medications such as dasatinib that target lung cancer cells.

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