Read below about coughing up a watery substance, including causes and common questions. Or get a personalized analysis of your coughing up a watery substance from our A.I. health assistant. At Buoy, we build tools that help you know what’s wrong right now and how to get the right care.

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

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A.I. Health Assistant Causes for Coughing Up a Watery Substance

The list below shows results from the use of our A.I. Health Assistant by Buoy users who experienced coughing up a watery substance. This list does not constitute medical advice.

  1. 1.Bronchitis

    Bronchitis is an inflammation of the bronchial tubes, the airways that carry air to your lungs. It causes a cough that often brings up mucus, as well as shortness of breath, wheezing, and chest tightness. It is typically caused by a virus.

    Symptoms resolve within 1-2 weeks.

    Rarity:
    Common
    Top Symptoms:
    cough, productive cough, sore throat, wheezing, coughing up green or yellow phlegm
    Symptoms that always occur with bronchitis:
    cough
    Symptoms that never occur with bronchitis:
    nausea or vomiting
    Urgency:
    Self-treatment
  2. 2.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.

    Coughing will diminish within 3 months of quitting smoking.

    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
  3. 3.Acid Reflux Disease (Gerd)

    Acid reflux disease, also known as GERD, occurs when the acidic contents of the stomach come back up into the esophagus. The most common symptoms are heartburn and regurgitation.

    With proper treatment, symptoms may be relieved within days & at most several weeks.

    Rarity:
    Common
    Top Symptoms:
    nausea, sore throat, pain below the ribs, cough with dry or watery sputum, deep chest pain, behind the breast bone
    Urgency:
    Primary care doctor

    Coughing Up a Watery Substance Checker

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  4. 4.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.

    Indefinite

    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
  5. 5.New - Onset Seasonal Allergies

    Allergic rhinitis, is an overreaction by the immune system to allergens in the air. While pollen often causes allergies, other culprits include dust, animal dander, and mold.

    Allergies are often seasonal.

    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
  6. 6.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.

    Seasonal

    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
  7. 7.Bacterial Pneumonia

    Bacterial pneumonia is the infection of the lungs with bacteria (as opposed to a fungus or a virus).

    1-3 weeks

    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

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

If you've answered yes to one or more of these questions, try our coughing up a watery substance symptom checker to find out more.

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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 had symptoms persist for:

    • 32% Less Than a Week
    • 23% Two Weeks to a Month
    • 18% Over a Month
  • 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
  • Source: Aggregated and anonymized results from visits to the Buoy AI health assistant (check it out by clicking on “Take Quiz”).

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