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Is swallowing phlegm ok?

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Old 09-07-2004, 10:31 AM   #1
Join Date: Jan 2004
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Is swallowing phlegm ok?


I get coughs for a few days at a time every so often, and tend to swallow the phlegm they produce because it's more convenient and not messy. I've heard people say that you should spit it out because coughs are the body's way of attempting to get rid of it, but I've always been under the impression that the body is simply trying to get it out of the lungs, and swallowing it puts it into the stomach, which accomplishes the goal.

Anyone know for sure?


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Old 09-07-2004, 12:45 PM   #2
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Re: Is swallowing phlegm ok?


Interesting question for sure....

If you have infection in your lungs or sinuses, it would be best to spit it out, why would you want to swallow infection if you don't have to.

I get nauseated when I have post nasal drip in buckets full ;-) and am constantly swallowing it because I can't blow it out. If I can spit it out when it's convenient (at home) I do...but most times I don't have the opportunity.

When it's "stuck" in my throat and won't go down when it's kind of cleared out, I try to cough it up and spit. That mostly bothers me when I'm trying to get to sleep.

Our whole digestive system is coated with protective mucous. I think digesting the stuff from our lungs and nose is fairly easy when it's just phlegm. But with infection..I would much rather spit most of it out when I can.

Making sure we have enough liquids can help loosen them well as steaming the nasal/bronchial passages. Guafenesine (sp?) helps as well to make phlegm somewhat looser and easier to cough up.

Hope this perspective helps.
It's all a matter of perspective!
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