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What causes a phlegmy (wet) cough and a snotty nose? These unpleasant symptoms are often caused by common ailments like colds, flu and sinus infections.1,2

Colds and flu

Colds and flu are both respiratory illnesses with similar symptoms, but they are caused by different viruses.3

The common cold is a viral infection that attacks your upper respiratory tract (your nose and throat).4 Symptoms usually include coughing and sneezing, a sore throat and a runny or snotty nose.4

Influenza (flu) is a viral infection that attacks your upper and lower respiratory system (your nose, throat and lungs).5 Flu normally starts off feeling like a regular cold and then gets worse with symptoms like fever and chills, muscle aches and fatigue.5 Flu also has a higher risk of more serious complications like pneumonia and bronchitis.3,5

Find out more about the symptoms of colds and flu and how to treat them.

Inflammation and infection

Inflammation (swelling) in your nasal passages and sinuses may also sometimes be a symptom of allergies.6 If inflammation goes untreated, an infection can start to develop in your sinues or nasal passages, causing a build-up of thick mucus and making the problem worse.6,7


Congestion in the nasal passages and/or sinuses can be described as a blocked, heavy or restricted feeling.8 It can be caused by conditions that can inflame your sinuses and make your body produce extra mucus.8,9 Symptoms of excess mucus production include swelling, pressure and pain in the nose and sinuses.9

Learn more about managing nasal and sinus congestion.

  1. Wet cough: causes and treatment for adults and children. Healthline. 2018. Accessed July 29, 2021.
  2. Nasal congestion: sometimes more than just a stuffy nose. Mayo Clinic. Accessed July 29, 2021. congestion/basics/definition/sym-20050644.
  3. CDC. Cold versus flu. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. 2020. Accessed June 14, 2021.
  4. Common cold - symptoms and causes. Mayo Clinic. Accessed June 14, 2021.
  5. Influenza (flu) - symptoms and causes. Mayo Clinic. Accessed June 14, 2021.
  6. Allergies - symptoms and causes. Mayo Clinic. Accessed June 14, 2021.
  7. What can happen if you leave your allergies untreated? London Allergy and Immunology Centre. 2019. Accessed November 18, 2021.
  8. Meltzer EO, Caballero F, Fromer LM, et al. Treatment of congestion in upper respiratory diseases. Int J Gen Med. 2010;3:69-91.
  9. What causes a stuffy nose? Healthline. 2016. Accessed August 4, 2021.
Sidebar References
  1. Sandoz SA (Pty) Ltd. ACC® 600 Professional information. V1.0 (02/11/2021), approved 26 October 2021 (oral powder) and 02 November 2021 (effervescent tablets).
  2. Sandoz SA (Pty) Ltd. ACC® 20 mg/ml ORAL SOLUTION Professional information. V1 (07/10/2021), approved 05 October 2021.
  3. Sandoz SA (Pty) Ltd. ACC® 200 Professional information. V10 (16/08/2022), approved 08 July 2020.

[S1] ACC® 20 mg/ml Oral Solution. Reg. No.: 48/10.3/0261. Composition: Each 1 ml of ACC 20 mg/ml ORAL SOLUTION contains 20 mg acetylcysteine. ATC Code: R05C B01.

[S1] ACC® 200 (effervescent tablets). Reg. No.: 29/10.2.2/0753. Composition: Each ACC 200 effervescent tablet contains: 200 mg acetylcysteine. Pharmacological Classification: A10.3 Medicines acting on the respiratory system – other.

[S1] ACC® 600 (effervescent tablets). Reg. No.: 45/10.3/0229. Composition: Each effervescent tablet contains 600 mg acetylcysteine. [S1] ACC® 600 ORAL POWDER. Reg. No.: 51/10.3/0816. Composition: Each sachet contains 600 mg of acetylcysteine. ATC Code: R05CB01.

For full prescribing information refer to the Sandoz Professional Information approved by the South African Health Products Regulatory Authority (SAHPRA).

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