What is a Cough?

A cough is a sudden and often repetitive reflex action that helps to clear the throat and breathing passages of mucus, secretions, irritants, foreign bodies, and other material. The cough reflex consists of three phases: an inhalation (inspiration), a forced expiration against a closed glottis, and a rapid release of air from the lungs (exhalation).

There are many different types of coughs, each with their own characteristics. Coughing can be either acute (short-lived) or chronic (long-term). Acute coughing usually lasts less than three weeks, while chronic coughing lasts longer than three weeks. Coughing can also be either dry or productive. A dry cough produces little or no mucus, while a productive cough produces mucus.

Causation

Most coughs are caused by viral infections, such as the common cold, influenza (flu), or bronchitis. Coughs can also be caused by bacterial infections, such as pneumonia or whooping cough (pertussis). Coughing can also be caused by irritants, such as smoke or dust particles. Other causes of coughing include allergies, acid reflux, and certain medications.

Prevention

There is no sure way to prevent a cough, but there are some things that can help reduce the likelihood of developing one. These include washing your hands often, avoiding close contact with people who are sick, and staying away from tobacco smoke. Coughing can also be prevented by getting vaccinated against certain viruses, such as the flu.

How to diagnose a cough

If you have a cough, it is important to understand the different types of coughs in order to get an accurate diagnosis. Coughs can be either dry or wet, and they can be caused by a variety of factors including allergies, colds, flu, bronchitis, and even some medications. In most cases, a cough is not serious and will resolve itself within a few weeks. However, if your cough persists for more than three weeks, or if it is accompanied by other symptoms such as fever or shortness of breath, it is important to see a doctor for a proper diagnosis.

There are two main types of coughs: dry and productive. A dry cough is typically caused by irritation in the throat and is not accompanied by mucus. A productive cough, on the other hand, is usually caused by an infection and is accompanied by mucus.

To diagnose a cough, your doctor will likely ask about your medical history and symptoms. He or she may also perform a physical exam and listen to your lungs with a stethoscope. In some cases, additional tests such as chest x-rays or CT scans may be necessary to rule out other conditions. Coughing up sputum (phlegm) for analysis can also help doctors identify the cause of your cough. Treatment for a cough will depend on the underlying cause. In most cases, however, home remedies such as drinking plenty of fluids and getting rest will help you feel better. If your cough is severe or does not improve with home treatment, see your doctor for further evaluation.

What are the different types of coughs?

There are two main types of coughs: dry and productive. A dry cough is typically caused by irritation in the throat and is not accompanied by mucus. A productive cough, on the other hand, is usually caused by an infection and is accompanied by mucus. Coughs can also be classified according to their origin as either being mediated by the central nervous system (neurogenic), originating in the upper respiratory tract (reflexogenic or non-specific irritating), or secondary to other lung diseases (psychogenic).

What is the treatment for a cough?

Treatment for a cough will depend on the underlying cause. In most cases, however, home remedies such as drinking plenty of fluids and getting rest will help you feel better. If your cough is severe or does not improve with home treatment, see your doctor for further evaluation. Coughing up sputum (phlegm) can also help diagnose the cause of your cough. Treatment for a cough will depend on its underlying cause. In most cases, however, home remedies such as drinking plenty of fluids and getting rest will help you feel better. If your cough is severe or does not improve with home treatment, see your doctor for further evaluation.

When should I see a doctor for a cough?

If your cough persists for more than three weeks, or if it is accompanied by other symptoms such as fever or shortness of breath, it is important to see a doctor for a proper diagnosis. Your doctor will likely ask about your medical history and symptoms. He or she may also perform a physical exam and listen to your lungs with a stethoscope. In some cases, additional tests such as chest x-rays or CT scans may be necessary to rule out other conditions. Coughing up sputum (phlegm) for analysis can also help doctors identify the cause of your cough. Treatment for a cough will depend on the underlying cause. In most cases, however, home remedies such as drinking plenty of fluids and getting rest will help you feel better. If your cough is severe or does not improve with home treatment, see your doctor for further evaluation.

What are the complications of a cough?

A cough that is left untreated can lead to complications such as dehydration, pneumonia, bronchitis, and ear infections. Coughing up blood (hemoptysis) can also be a complication of a cough. If you experience any of these complications, it is important to see a doctor for proper treatment. Coughing up sputum (phlegm) can also help diagnose the cause of your cough. Treatment for a cough will depend on its underlying cause. In most cases, however, home remedies such as drinking plenty of fluids and getting rest will help you feel better. If your cough is severe or does not improve with home treatment, see your doctor for further evaluation.