A cough, also known as tussis, is a voluntary or involuntary act that clears the throat and breathing passage of foreign particles, microbes, irritants, fluids, and mucus; it is a rapid expulsion of air from the lungs.
Causes of acute (short-term) cough
In most cases, the infection is in the upper respiratory tract and affects the throat, this is known as a URTI or URI (upper respiratory tract infection). Examples include:
If it is an LRTI (lower respiratory tract infection), the lungs are infected, and/or the airways lower down from the windpipe. Examples include:
An acute cough can also be caused by hay fever.
Causes of chronic (long-term) cough
- Chronic cough is a cough that persists over time. Chronic cough is not a disease in itself, but rather a symptom of an underlying condition.
- Causes and risk factors for chronic cough include:
- chronic bronchitis,
- common colds,
- dry mouth,
- hay fever (allergic rhinitis),
- sinus problems and post-nasal drip,
- cystic fibrosis,
- whooping cough (pertussis)
- medication side effects,
- chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD),
- bronchiectasis, and
- lung cancer.
- mucus dripping down the throat from the back of the nose (post nasal drip)
- GERD (gastro-esophageal reflux disease)
- Some medications (e.g., ACE inhibitors)
Chronic coughs in children are most often caused by asthma, but can also be from conditions like post-nasal drip or GERD.
- Treatment for chronic cough is to identify the cause and treat it.
- Home remedies to ease symptoms of chronic cough include:
- staying hydrated,
- gargling with warm saltwater,
- cough drops,
- honey, and
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