What Is a Cough?
A cough is a natural and sudden reflex, where air is rapidly expelled from your lungs to clear your respiratory passages of foreign particles. While coughs can be frustrating, their purpose is to guard against further infection.
Most coughs can be described as dry (tickly and felt mainly in the throat) or chesty (phlegm-producing and felt mainly in the chest). Experiencing phlegm during a cough is usually a good sign, because it means the foreign particles causing the cough are being expelled from the lungs. Coughs can also be described as acute or chronic.
Acute coughs typically:
- Last for less than three weeks
- Are the result of a viral respiratory tract infection
- Affect the throat or upper respiratory tract
Chronic coughs typically:
- Lasts up to or more than 8 weeks
- Are the result of mucus and nasal drips in your respiratory passages