Symptoms A-Z

Coughing Up a Watery Substance Symptom, Causes & Questions

Understand your coughing up a watery substance symptoms, including 7 causes & common questions.

This symptom can also be referred to as: clear mucus from cough

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7 Possible Coughing Up A Watery Substance Causes

The list below shows results from the use of our quiz by Buoy users who experienced coughing up a watery substance. This list does not constitute medical advice and may not accurately represent what you have.

Bronchitis

Acute bronchitis is an inflammatory reaction to an infection in the airways. Most cases of acute bronchitis are caused by a viral infection, although some cases may be due to a bacterial infection.

Symptoms include an acute-onset cough with or without sputum production, low-grade fever, shortness of breat...

Smoking-induced cough

The airways are lined with tiny cells called cilia, whose function is to catch toxins in air that is inhaled and push them up towards the mouth. When smoke is inhaled, the cilia are paralyzed for a short while, so toxins are allowed to enter the lungs and create inflammation. During the night, the cilia repair themselves and begin to push up all the accumulated mucus and toxins, causing an increase in cough in the morning.

Rarity: Common

Top Symptoms: cough

Symptoms that always occur with smoking-induced cough: cough

Symptoms that never occur with smoking-induced cough: fever

Urgency: Self-treatment

Acid reflux disease (gerd)

GERD (gastroesophageal reflux disease) in infants refers to the passage of stomach contents into the throat causing troublesome symptoms, such as feeding intolerance, inadequate oral intake of calories and/or poor weight gain. Vomiting or visible regurgitation ...

Coughing Up A Watery Substance Symptom Checker

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Alpha-1 anti-trypsin deficiency

Alpha-1 antitrypsin deficiency (AAT deficiency) is an inherited condition that raises your risk for lung and liver disease. Alpha-1 antitrypsin (AAT) is a protein that protects the lungs. The liver makes it. If the AAT proteins aren't the right shape, they get stuck in the liver cells and can't reach the lungs.

Rarity: Rare

Top Symptoms: shortness of breath, wheezing, shortness of breath on exertion, coughing up a watery substance, yellow skin (jaundice)

Urgency: Primary care doctor

New-onset seasonal allergies

New-onset seasonal allergies, also called adult-onset seasonal allergies, are sensitivities to pollen, mold, and other irritants that cause nasal congestion, runny nose, sneezing, itchy eyes, and sore throat.

Seasonal allergies commonly begin in childhood but can start at any age, especially among those with a family history. Moving to a different geographic location may trigger the allergy in someone with a genetic predisposition. Anyone with asthma is more likely to experience adult-onset seasonal allergies.

Sometimes the symptoms are actually from "pregnancy rhinitis" – nasal congestion and sneezing due to the effects of pregnancy hormones on the nasal tissue.

A new-onset allergy is often thought to be a cold, but a cold will clear up without treatment. Allergies persist, never getting better or worse, and can interfere with quality of life.

Diagnosis is made by an allergist, who will use skin tests and blood tests.

There is no cure for seasonal allergies but the symptoms can be managed for greater comfort and relief. Antihistamines, corticosteroid nasal sprays, and immunotherapy or "allergy shots" can be very effective.

Rarity: Common

Top Symptoms: sore throat, congestion, cough with dry or watery sputum, mucous dripping in the back of the throat, fatigue

Symptoms that never occur with new-onset seasonal allergies: fever, yellow-green runny nose, chills, muscle aches

Urgency: Self-treatment

Chronic allergies

Allergies are an overreaction by the immune system to something that does not bother most other people. Many people who have allergies are sensitive to pollen, but other things such as dust mites, animal dander, cockroaches, and mold can also cause a reaction.

Rarity: Common

Top Symptoms: fatigue, irritability, trouble sleeping, runny nose, congestion

Symptoms that never occur with chronic allergies: fever, yellow-green runny nose, chills, muscle aches

Urgency: Self-treatment

Bacterial pneumonia

Bacterial pneumonia is an infection of the lungs caused by one of several different bacteria, often Streptococcus pneumoniae. Pneumonia is often contracted in hospitals or nursing homes.

Symptoms include fatigue, fever, chills, painful and difficult breathing, and cough that brings up mucus. Elderly patients may have low body temperature and confusion.

Pneumonia can be a medical emergency for very young children or those over age 65, as well as anyone with a weakened immune system or a chronic heart or lung condition. Emergency room is only needed for severe cases or for those with immune deficiency.

Diagnosis is made through blood tests and chest x-ray.

With bacterial pneumonia, the treatment is antibiotics. Be sure to finish all the medication, even if you start to feel better. Hospitalization may be necessary for higher-risk cases.

Some types of bacterial pneumonia can be prevented through vaccination. Flu shots help, too, by preventing another illness from taking hold. Keep the immune system healthy through good diet and sleep habits, not smoking, and frequent handwashing.

Rarity: Common

Top Symptoms: fatigue, cough, headache, loss of appetite, shortness of breath

Symptoms that always occur with bacterial pneumonia: cough

Urgency: In-person visit

Questions Your Doctor May Ask About Coughing Up A Watery Substance

To diagnose this condition, your doctor would likely ask the following questions:

  • Any fever today or during the last week?
  • Have you been feeling more tired than usual, lethargic or fatigued despite sleeping a normal amount?
  • Do you currently smoke?
  • Do you have a sore throat?

The above questions are also covered by our A.I. Health Assistant.

If you've answered yes to one or more of these questions

Take a quiz to find out what might be causing your coughing up a watery substance

Coughing Up A Watery Substance Symptom Checker Statistics

People who have experienced coughing up a watery substance have also experienced:

  • 14% Cough
  • 10% Mucous Dripping In The Back Of The Throat
  • 6% Dry Cough

People who have experienced coughing up a watery substance were most often matched with:

  • 60% Acid Reflux Disease (Gerd)
  • 20% Bronchitis
  • 20% Smoking-Induced Cough

People who have experienced coughing up a watery substance had symptoms persist for:

  • 32% Less than a week
  • 23% Two weeks to a month
  • 18% Over a month

Source: Aggregated and anonymized results from visits to the Buoy AI health assistant (check it out by clicking on “Take Quiz”).

Coughing Up A Watery Substance Symptom Checker

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Disclaimer: The article does not replace an evaluation by a physician. Information on this page is provided as an information resource only, and is not to be used or relied on for any diagnostic or treatment purposes.