Coughing is a natural reflex reaction that happens in response to irritants in your throat and air passages to keep the airways clear. During a cough, there's a rapid intake of breath and the voice box closes temporarily. The abdominal and chest muscles contract and air in the lungs is forced out to remove the irritant. Coughing is a normal, healthy reflex.
There are to main causes for coughing:
1- Infectious causes of a cough which include upper respiratory tract infections, whooping cough, croup, acute bronchitis, pneumonia and tuberculosis.
2- Non-infectious causes include emphysema, asthma, smoking, hay fever and allergies.
Coughs can either be acute, usually resolving within three weeks, or chronic, lasting longer than three weeks. If a cough persists for a long period or brings up blood and mucus, it may be a sign or a more serious underlying condition. Medical attention should be sought if there’s phlegm that is green, yellow or blood-stained, chest pain, wheezing, high fever and sweating, and sudden weight loss.
Most of the time a cough is the result of a minor and temporary illness and is commonly a result of infection, such as the common cold. In these situations self-care measures can be implemented to ease a dry cough and soothe the throat.
These include drinking lots of fluids, sucking lozenges such as Durotuss Sugar Free Lozenges and Strepfen Sugar Free Lozenges, and moisturising the air such as by using a humidifier (Euky Bear Vaporiser and Vicks Vaporiser V188). Antibiotics can be prescribed to clear a cough caused by bacterial infection. In cases where coughing is caused by pollutants, irritants or allergies, exposure to the irritant will need to be eliminated.
Its important remembering that coughing is a symptom, not a disease, so the underlying cause of the cough will need to be treated. Other treatments depend on the type of disease and how that disease will need to be treated.