Colds and allergies may produce mucus that drains down the back of
the throat (post-nasal drainage). Home treatment may be all that is
needed to provide relief if you have a productive cough and post-nasal drainage
but do not have other symptoms.
A productive cough in a person who smokes is often a sign of lung
damage. For smokers, the most effective way to treat a cough is to stop
smoking. A change in the cough or in the colour or quantity of sputum may
mean a bacterial lung infection.
A productive cough is a more serious when:
It produces sputum from the lungs (not post-nasal
The sputum is rust-coloured or contains bright red