Sputum is the thick, mucous substance, usually composed of cells, foreign matter, and saliva, which is secreted into the airways of the respiratory tract. It is popularly known as phlegm and it is associated with air passages in lungs, bronchi and other parts of the upper respiratory tract. It comes in different colors such as black, gray, and orange sputum.
Sputum Colors and Their Meaning
Sputum analysis is a group of tests conducted on sputum specimen obtained from a patient. The purpose of this is to identify microorganisms causing a respiratory infection. Sputum culture is done to:
- Detect and identify bacteria causing an infection
- Identify the best antibiotic to treat the infection
- Monitor treatment of an infection
Sputum comes in different colors that indicate something. White sputum may mean that the lungs are clean. Gray sputum comes from cold or flu. People suffering from bronchitis or bronchiectasis have yellow sputum. Orange colored mucus might indicate pneumococcus or Klebsiella pus. Smoking causes black sputum. Red sputum indicates the presence of blood and chances are, you have tuberculosis.
Home Remedies for Orange Phlegm (Sputum)
As discussed earlier, sputum comes in different colors – white, black, gray, red, bright orange sputum—and thus may indicate different causes. It must be noted that in treating sputum, source of the disease must be considered. Here are some home remedies in treating orange-colored sputum:
- Take aspirin or acetaminophen if you have fever.
- Elevate your head with extra pillows at night to ease a dry cough.
- Get enough rest.
- Us a humidifier or steam in the bathroom as it can reduce the possibility of having orange-colored sputum.
- Drink plenty of fluids. Fluids may help thin secretions and soothe an irritated throat.
- Avoid smoking.
- If symptoms are not improving, consult your doctor.
- Avoid caffeine and alcohol.
- Limit exposure to pollutants and other lung irritants.