Cough is a symptom and an important reflex which helps clear out the body’s airways. It is a normal response to something that irritates the throat or airways and prevents the inhalation of those things that may cause problems to the lungs.
Coughing sometimes can be considered normal when it’s once in a while. However, coughs that are more frequent can be a symptom of an underlying illness. Cough can be caused by a cold/flu, bronchitis, or asthma. Other causes can be medication side effects, acid reflux, allergies, postnasal drip, and smoking cigarettes. Usually once the underlying cause is resolved, the cough usually also goes away.
Some coughs are “wet,” meaning they produce phlegm. Coughs that do not produce and phlegm are considered to be “dry.”
Some basic steps that can be taken to help the cough go away include drinking lots of water and liquids. Drinking water helps thin out the phlegm or mucus. Adding honey to tea also is a natural way to help easy a dry cough.
When should you call for help?
Call anytime you think you may need emergency care. For example, call if:
- You have severe trouble breathing.
Call your doctor now or seek immediate medical care if:
- You cough up blood.
- You have new or worse trouble breathing.
- You have a new or higher fever.
- You have a new rash.
Watch closely for changes in your health, and be sure to contact your doctor if:
- You cough more deeply or more often, especially if you notice more mucus or a change in the color of your mucus.
- You have new symptoms, such as a sore throat, an earache, or sinus pain.
- You do not get better as expected.
- Your cough lasts longer than 10 days.
- You have a cough and lost weight without trying.