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Fat cough Causes, Symptoms and Treatment

Fat cough, also called productive cough, is manifested by the presence of sputum, or consecutive sputum, from the throat or lungs, as opposed to the dry, so-called “nonproductive” cough.

Comprised of water, mucus, and often bacteria, viruses and white blood cells, these secretions are a more or less thick liquid that can be expelled through the mouth during cough in the form of mucus and sputum.

It differs in this from dry cough, characterized by the absence of secretions and often related to irritation of the respiratory tract.

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Characteristics and causes of fat cough

Fatty cough is not a disease but a symptom: it is usually present in case of bronchial infection or chronic obstructive bronchitis of various causes such as those related to smoking. The bronchi produce secretions which, thanks to the cough, make it possible to evacuate these secretions loaded with microbes, pus, or fine particles.

We must not seek to stop the production of this mucus, which is a natural defense mechanism of the body and whose purpose is to clean the lungs: this is called sputum.

Treatment of oily cough

As an indispensable defense mechanism, it is important to respect the fat cough and not necessarily seek to stop it.

It is therefore not recommended to take anti-cough medicine ( cough), these blocking the reflex cough, they can cause an accumulation of mucus in the bronchial tubes and lungs, which may further clog the airways. In general, the treatment of fatty cough varies according to the cause and the origin of the disease is treated. The treatments are simply to promote the expectoration of pulmonary mucus.

Should we use bronchial fluidifiers?

The fluidifiers have no other efficacy than placebo. As they have adverse effects, sometimes serious (allergies, respiratory disorders), they are prohibited in children under 2 years. Their use is also not justified in children and adults.

The treatment of fatty cough consists of:

  • Hydrate well; drink at least 1.5 liters of water a day so that the sputum is fluid enough to be well evacuated.
  • Use disposable tissue so as not to contaminate the surroundings.
  •  Air the room where we sleep and in general, the place of life.
  • Use an air humidifier.
  •  Above all, do not smoke or be in the presence of smoker or any other irritating factor in the ambient air.
  • Unclog the nose with saline or salt water several times a day.
  • For infants, the doctor may consider necessary respiratory physiotherapy with bronchial drainage.

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Greasy cough: when to consult?

If the fat cough is generally benign, it can also reveal more serious pathologies (chronic bronchitis, important bacterial infection, pneumonia, pulmonary edema, tuberculosis, asthma …). In cases of prolonged fat cough, purulent appearance of secretions or cough accompanied by blood, vomiting, or fever, significant fatigue, it is important to consult a doctor as soon as possible.

How to prevent oily cough?

One cannot prevent cough itself, only prevent the diseases associated with the symptom, such as respiratory infections.
It should, for example:

  • to avoid the use of air conditioners , which dry the air and the airways,
  • to ventilate his house regularly,
  • not to overheat your interior
  • not to cough without putting your hand in front of your mouth,
  • not to shake hands if one is sick or to a sick person,
  • to wash your hands regularly,
  • Use paper tissues to spit and / or spit and dispose of them immediately.

Complementary approaches to treating oily cough


Homeopathy offers for example treatments such as 3 granules three times a day in 9 CH:

  • if the cough is particularly important and is accompanied by a lot of yellow mucus, take Ferrum phosphoricum,
  • if it is very fat during the day but dries at night, take Pulsatilla,
  • if the cough does not allow to expectorate properly and breathing is difficult (asthma type), take Blatta orientalis,
  • If the cough is spasmodic with a feeling of choking so coughing is important, take Ipeca.


Essential oils (HE) used to fight against fatty cough are:

  • Star anise (or star anise) HE 2 or 3 drops inhaled in a bowl of hot water,
  • Cypress HE with 2 drops in a spoonful of honey,
  • Rosewood HE mixed with vegetable oil (olive for example) that can be used in children (with all the same precautions).


To fight against the fat cough, make an herbal tea:

  • thyme, using 2 g per 200 ml of water, let infuse ten minutes,
  • Anise, one teaspoon of dried anise for 200 ml of water, to infuse about ten minutes.

Drink the chosen preparation at least three times a day.

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