Q. An online symptoms checker shows my cough with phlegm to be pneumonia. Is it true?

Answered by
Dr. Sugreev Singh
and medically reviewed by Dr. Sneha Kannan
This is a premium question & answer published on Aug 03, 2021 and last reviewed on: Aug 25, 2021

Hi doctor,

I am 18 years old male. I have cough without expectoration for the past five to six days. A tiny amount of phlegm came with my cough today. The severity of coughing has reduced compared to the initial two days. Sometimes when I breathe out while lying down, I can hear and feel the phlegm coming up and blocking my airway. I do not have any other symptoms. I took hay fever medication for the past two days and tablet Ibuprofen for muscle soreness from exercise. Online symptom diagnosis tool shows that I have bacterial pneumonia, but I do not have a fever, chills, chest pain, or any other symptoms. My phlegm is very light yellowish but mostly white. The only sign I have is a cough with a little bit of phlegm. What should I do?

Kindly help.



Welcome to

Thank you for writing, and I understand your concern.

Sir, actually cough with phlegm is seen in respiratory infection only, and most probably it is caused by bacterial or viral infection. Hence you have been diagnosed to have bacterial pneumonia. The actual diagnosis of pneumonia requires a chest x-ray. The infection you have might be an acute respiratory tract infection without pneumonia.

Since you have a cough with phlegm, I suggest you take antibiotics. Before starting with the medicines, are you allergic to any antibiotics, and have you taken any antibiotics recently?

To make a clear diagnosis for pneumonia, I suggest you to take CBC test (complete blood count) and a chest x-ray.

Thank you.

The Probable causes:


Investigations to be done:

CBC and chest x-ray.

Differential diagnosis:


Probable diagnosis:

Cough with phlegm.

Preventive measures:

Please drink lukewarm water only.

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