When your body detects an irritation, it will respond by coughing to expel it.
Your neurological system will notify your brain if something causes irritation to your throat or airway when it does this. In response, your brain sends signals to the muscles in your chest and abdomen, ordering them to tighten and force a blast of air out of your body.
The coughing reflex is an important protective mechanism that assists in protecting the body from irritants such as:
Many different diseases and ailments might manifest themselves with coughing as a symptom. There are situations when the features of your cough can provide insight into its underlying reason.
Coughs are characterized by the following:
Your coughing reflex may be triggered when there is a temporary restriction in your airway. Seek emergency medical assistance if you or your child have recently consumed something that has the potential to obstruct their airway. Some symptoms of choking are as follows:
If you notice any of these indicators, immediately dial 911 and administer chest compressions or the Heimlich maneuver.
A cough that typically results in the production of mucus is referred to as a wet cough or a productive cough.
Wet coughs are typically brought on by the common cold or the flu. They can develop gradually or rapidly, and they are sometimes accompanied by a variety of additional symptoms, including the following:
Coughs that sound wet are caused by your body expelling mucus from your respiratory system, which includes your bronchi, larynx, and trachea.
When you have a wet cough, it may feel as though something is trapped in the back of your throat or dripping down into your chest. This is a common symptom of bronchitis. You may find that some of your coughs send mucus up into your mouth.
Wet coughs can be acute, in which case they will last for fewer than three weeks, or chronic, in which case they will last for longer than eight weeks in adults and four weeks in children. The length of a cough can be an important indicator of what’s causing it.
Some of the conditions that can lead to a wet cough are as follows:
Coughs in infants, toddlers, and children that persist less than three weeks and are associated with a cold or the flu are almost invariably caused by one of these two respiratory illnesses.
Treatments for coughs that produce mucus
A cough that does not bring up mucus is referred to as a dry cough. You might get the sensation that there is something tickling in the back of your throat, which might set off your cough reflex and give you hacking coughs.
Dry coughs are notoriously difficult to treat and might manifest themselves in prolonged bouts. Dry coughs are caused by inflammation or irritation in the respiratory system; nevertheless, there is not an excessive amount of mucus to be coughed up in these cases.
Infections in the upper respiratory tract, such as a cold or the flu, are frequently the root cause of dry coughs.
It is not uncommon for a dry cough to continue for several weeks after a cold or the flu has passed in either children or adults. This is true for both age groups. The following are some additional potential triggers of dry cough:
Coughing up dry mucus and COVID-19
One of the most prevalent signs and symptoms of COVID-19 is a hacking, dry cough. Fever and shortness of breath are two more symptoms that are indicative of COVID-19 infection.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) suggest the following treatments if you experience symptoms consistent with COVID-19 and suspect that you have the virus:
Immediately seek out the assistance of a qualified medical professional if you notice any of the following symptoms:
Medications that can soothe a hacking cough
The treatments for dry cough are dependent on the underlying cause.
A cough with intermittent spells of severe, uncontrollable coughing is known as a paroxysmal cough. Paroxysmal cough is one that comes on suddenly and can be very uncomfortable. People have difficulty breathing and may throw up as a result.
The bacterial infection known as pertussis, more commonly referred to as whooping cough, is characterized by episodes of severe coughing.
People who have whooping cough exhale forcefully while making a “whooping” sound because their lungs empty themselves completely of air during an outbreak of the condition.
Babies are more likely to become infected with whooping cough and experience more severe consequences as a result of the disease. They are at risk for potentially fatal complications from whooping cough.
Getting vaccinated against pertussis is the most effective method available for preventing the disease in anyone aged 2 months and older.
Paroxysmal coughing fits are a common symptom of whooping cough. Other potential triggers for a severe coughing fit include the following:
Treatments for a hacking cough like a paroxysm
Treatment with antibiotics is necessary for patients of any age who have whooping cough.
Because whooping cough is very contagious, it is important for the family members and caregivers of someone who has the illness to also receive treatment. Treatment of whooping cough should begin as soon as possible for the best possible outcome.
When a person has croup, their upper airway becomes inflamed and enlarged as a result of the condition. Already, the airways of young children are more congested. When swelling in the airway causes it to become even narrower, breathing becomes increasingly difficult.
The cough that is characteristic of croup is described as sounding like a seal “barking.” A raspy voice and squeaky breathing noises are both symptoms of swelling in and around the voice box, which also causes the swelling.
Croup is a frightening illness that can affect both children and their parents. Children are able to:
In severe situations, youngsters may develop a bluish or pale complexion.
Treatments for coughs caused by croup.