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風邪をひいている女性
風邪をひいている女性

風邪をひいた時に黄色い痰が出る理由と対処法

風邪の女性

風邪をひくと痰が出ることが多いのですが、その色は様々です。黄色い痰が出ることもあれば、白い痰が出ることもあります。黄色い痰が出るというのはどのような理由からなのでしょうか?

風邪の時に黄色い痰が出る理由やその仕組み、対処法を紹介します。

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痰とは?

吐き気のする男

痰とは、そもそも何なのでしょうか?
痰は、鼻腔経由のものを除く呼吸器系で作られた粘膜の一種であり、呼吸器にとって有害となる物質を絡め取って体外に排出するという役割があります。

痰の成分は、主に糖タンパクや免疫グロブリン、脂質を含むゲル状の水です。吸い込んだほこりや塵、細菌やウイルス、アレルゲンなども含んでいます。

痰は、体調が悪い時にだけ出るものというイメージがありますが、健康な時にも出ています。一日あたりの正常な量は、成人で100ml程度と言われています。これよりも極端に多い場合には、何かしらの疾患を抱えている可能性が高いと考えられます。

黄色い痰が出る理由

痰の色は、原因によって変化します。風邪などの感染症では、痰の色は少し黄色くなります。なぜ黄色になるかというと、白血球と細菌などが戦ってその残骸が混ざるからです。

風邪をひいた時の痰は、濃くて少しどろっとした粘度の高いもので、色も黄色や黄緑色に近い色をしている場合が多いです。ウイルスを含む痰はほとんど無色ですが、色が付いたものは細菌が原因の風邪ということになります。

ちなみに緑色に近い色の場合は膿が混ざっていることが考えられ、蓄膿症などの症状で見られます。また、少し赤く変色している場合には、血痰と呼ばれ、血が混ざっている恐れがあります。このような痰が出た時には注意が必要です。鮮赤色の場合は吐血に近い状態ですし、褐色であれば肺や気管支の病気の疑いがあります。できるだけ早く病院に受診しましょう。

痰が出る仕組み

呼吸をしていると、大気中のほこりや塵、細菌、ウイルスは鼻や口から体内に入ります。呼気で入ってきた異物は体内に残ったままになると身体に害を及ぼします。そうならないために、呼吸器に入り込んだ異物を身体の外へ排出する役目として痰が出ます。

痰が出る仕組みとしては、痰は気道内の異物を絡め取って体外へ排出する際に、咳を伴って外へ出そうとします。性はのどや気管、気管支などの末梢神経を刺激されることで、反射的に起こります。咳を反射で強制的に出すことで、気道にたまった異物を身体の外へ排出し、同時に痰も押し戻されて口の中に出てきます。

健康な状態でも痰が出るのは、大気中のほこりや菌を普段から呼吸で取り込んでいるからです。普段は気づきませんが、無意識にツバと一緒に飲みこんでいます。

痰が絡むときの対処法

痰が絡む時には、去痰薬が有効です。気道分泌を促進し、痰の濃度を薄めて吐き出しやすくする効果があります。ムコイダンは去痰薬として有効な薬として代表的なもので、痰や鼻詰まりにも効果があります。

漢方薬では、龍角散が鎮咳去痰薬として代表的なものです。キキョウやセネガ、キョウニン、カンゾウを中心とした生薬が配合された粉末タイプの薬であり、咳や痰、のどの痛みや腫れに効果があります。

薬に頼りたくないという人は、少し塩を入れたお湯をゆっくりと飲むという方法があります。喉を温めて保湿することで流動性が増し、痰を切りやすくなります。また、みかんや金柑などの柑橘類の皮を絞ったものを混ぜるのもいいでしょう。
卵白にも去痰効果があります。加熱すると成分が変わってしまいますので、加熱せずに生卵の状態で調理した物を食べることで、効果が得られます。

痰が出る風邪以外の病気

風邪以外にも痰が出る病気があります。

まずは、肺炎です。これは、ウイルスや細菌に感染することによって、肺に炎症が起きている状態のことです。細菌性の肺炎になると、緑色の膿のような痰が出ます。

また、気管支炎もあります。これは、気管支に炎症が起き、咳と痰の症状が現れます。特に喘鳴があるのが特徴です。

慢性閉塞性肺疾患という場合もあります。これは、タバコの煙などの有害物質を長期間吸入することで起き、気道の炎症や肺胞が傷ついて呼吸器が閉塞されて慢性的な息切れが起こります。主な症状に、咳や痰、息切れがあります。

一生風邪をひかない体のつくり方 (知的生きかた文庫)
村上 一裕
三笠書房
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まとめ:黄色の痰は細菌による風邪が原因で発生する

痰は、白血球と風邪の病原体が戦った後にその残骸が混ざって出るものです。黄色い痰が出る場合には、細菌による風邪が原因と考えられます。

痰が絡んだ時には、去痰薬としてムコイダンや龍角散を服用するといいでしょう。薬を使いたくないという人には、少し塩を入れたお湯をゆっくりと飲むという方法がおすすめです。

痰が出ている時には、同時に風邪の原因となる細菌やウイルスが含まれていますので、できるだけ痰を出して風邪の原因の細菌を身体から出すようにし、風邪を早く治しましょう。

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