What's in this article?
What is Mucus?
Mucus is a normal, slippery and stringy fluid substance produced by many lining tissues in the body. It is essential for body function and acts as a protective and moisturizing layer to keep critical organs from drying out. Mucus also acts as a trap for irritants like dust, smoke, or bacteria. It contains antibodies and bacteria-killing enzymes to help fight off infections.
The body produces a lot of mucus about 1 to 1.5 liters per day. We don’t tend to notice mucus at all unless its production is increased or the quality of mucus has changed, as may happen with different illnesses and conditions.
What is Phlegm?
Phlegm is a liquid secreted by the mucous membranes of mammals. Its definition is limited to the mucus produced by the respiratory system, excluding that from the nasal passages, and particularly that which is expelled by coughing (sputum). Phlegm is in essence a water-based gel consisting of glycoproteins, immunoglobulins, lipids and other substances. Its composition varies depending on climate, genetics, and state of the immune system.
What is the difference between Mucus and Phlegm?
• Phlegm is only produced in the respiratory system while mucus is produced in many other systems.
• Both these fluids are highly viscous, but phlegm is thicker than mucus.
• Usually mucus is colourless, whereas phlegm could be colourless or even dark coloured.
• Mucus is produced in many types of animals including some invertebrates as well, whereas phlegm is produced only in mammals.
• The main function of both secretions is the protection, but mucus provides lubrication, as well.
• The constituents are more or less the same in mucus, but many factors account for the nature and the constituents.