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Viral Pharyngitis.

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Lat week I started to get a sore throat and mild cough and sinus congestion. I saw my doctor who did a strep test (negative) and told me it was viral and to use antihistamines and Tylenol until the symtoms subside in about 7 to 10 days. After the appointment Friday I started coughing more (wet coughs). No fever, as I keep checking...always around 97. No body aches. I went out a hike yesterday with a group of people and my symptoms did not change. at times I did start to cough up green phlegm and I still am today. I thought the exercise would help with my immunity. I am staying hydrated as well. Could this be bacterial? Does green phlegm from my chest indicate that I need antibiotics? Should I see the doctor again? I am taking Tylenol for the sinus pressure and Claritin D for the running nose and congestion. Should I stay home tomorrow?

EDIT: The hike included almost 3000 ft elevation change and my ears still feel like they need to pop, but will not.

Category: Family Physician-GP

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Dr. Deepu Sebin Sebastian is online now

Expert:  Dr. Deepu Sebin Sebastian replied 4 Days.

Hello and thankyou for approaching DoctorSpring with your query.
I have gone through your case and understand your concern.
Green phlegm does not necessarily mean bacterial infection. It can occur in viral infection too. Viral infection can take upto 2-3 weeks to clear in some individuals.
I would advise you to carry on with the present medication that you already are on.
In addition drink a lot of warm fluids.
Do steam inhalation by inhaling through your nose and exhaling through your mouth. Do this twice a day.

However if your symptoms do not clear in a week, the phlegm gets worse, you develop fever, feel tired and breathless I would advise you to get the following tests done.
1) Complete blood count 2) Chest X Ray.
As of now you need not worry. If you are feeling weak, and your symptoms are bothering you can stay home. Otherwise it is not required that you stay home, if it is not strenous activity.
I hope this has helped. Feel free to follow up.

Patient replied :

Is Musinex DM ok to take with Claritin D? The Claritin isn't helping with my chest congestion and cough...

Expert:  Dr. Deepu Sebin Sebastian replied 3 Days.

Yes you can take both. Mucinex DM will help with your cough and congestion.
I hope this has helped.
Get well soon.
Take care

Patient replied :

After taking these two medications my cough has subsided some, but not entirely. When I do cough, I cough up green phlegm and I keep having to blow my nose also (mostly clear). Once the phlegm left a slightly metallic taste in my mouth. Every time I cough it has a wet sound to it--even when I don't feel the urge to cough. WOuld coughing up this and blowing my nose be an effect of these medications? Could I have bronchitis? I have no fever, don't feel weak, and no chest pain nor wheezing. I've also tried hydrogen peroxide in my ears to help with the symptoms. Would it be okay to stick to my regular exercise routine?

Expert:  Dr. Deepu Sebin Sebastian replied 2 Days.

It is difficult to distinguish between bronchitis and a upper respiratory tract infection only on symptoms. However the treatment for both is symptomatic relief which you are already on. Since you do not have fever, no chest pain, wheezing or weakness it is less likely. But like I said you cannot say definitely based on symptoms.
The Mucinex Dm does loosen the mucus in the respiratory tract but suppresses cough.
You can carry on with your regular exercise. However if you go out early morning and if the weather is cold do use proper clothing as protection.
If you do not feel better in a weeks time or your symptoms worsen, you can get a CBC and Chest X Ray done.

I hope this has helped.

Patient replied :

The mucinex has caused me to have trouble falling asleep at night. Would it be safe to take a Unisom tablet before bed while on the mucinex dm?

Expert:  Dr. Deepu Sebin Sebastian replied 1 Day.

I would not advise you to take Unisom as you are already on Claritin D and Mucinex DM. I would advise you to continue Mucinex DM for another 2 days and then you can stop taking the medication.

I hope this has helped.

Dr. Deepu Sebin Sebastian
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MD, Internal Medicine - Stanley Medical School
Medical School - MBBS - Govt. Medical College, Kottyaam

Diagnostic Prediction - Stanford School of Medicine
Received Specialty training in Critical Care, Cardiology, Neurology, Gastroenterology, Nephrology from Stanley Medical College and in Endocrinology, Rheumatology.

Hematology and Geriatrics from Madras Medical College.
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