How cough is caused?
Viruses and bacteria. The most common cause of a cough is a respiratory tract infection, such as a cold or flu. Respiratory tract infections are usually caused by a virus and may last from a few days to a week. Infections caused by the flu may take a little longer to clear up and may sometimes require antibiotics.
Phlegm is a slightly different substance. It's a form of mucus produced by the lower airways — not by the nose and sinuses — in response to inflammation. You may not notice phlegm unless you cough it up as a symptom of bronchitis or pneumonia.
- Acute bronchitis often develops three to four days after a cold or the flu. It may start with a dry cough, then after a few days the coughing spells may bring up mucus. Most people get over an acute bout of bronchitis in two to three weeks, although the cough can sometimes hang on for four weeks or more.
- A stuffy nose, then, is your body's attempt to block and expel an infection attacking via your respiratory tract. The extra secretion of mucus to the nose — which comes from the cells that line your sinuses and upper reparatory tract — is the effort to flush out the nasal passages to send those unwelcome germs packing.
- Hold the breath for 2-3 seconds. Use your stomach muscles to forcefully expel the air. Avoid a hacking cough or merely clearing the throat. A deep cough is less tiring and more effective in clearing mucus out of the lungs.
If you inhale pollutants or irritants from the air, it affects the lungs and respiratory tracts, so a cough is meant to expel them quickly from the body. Dry coughs are often the result of inflammation in the lungs or respiratory pathways, which is often caused by coughing in the first place.
- The answer, according to most doctors, is close to 18 days. Yet many people with a cough get antsy after about five to nine days, a new study shows. “Coughs last for longer than we think they do,” says researcher Mark H. Ebell, MD, a family doctor at the University of Georgia in Athens.
- But a cough also can be a method of spreading a viral or bacterial infectious disease if the disease is transmitted by airborne droplets. Consequently, people are understandably concerned that coughing is "contagious". However, what is actually contagious is the infecting pathogen, not the cough itself.
- Phlegm /ˈfl?m/ (Greek: φλέγμα "inflammation, humour caused by heat") is a liquid secreted by the mucous membranes of mammals. Its definition is limited to the mucus produced by the respiratory system, excluding that from the nasal passages, and particularly that which is expelled by coughing (sputum).
When your airways become clogged with mucus or foreign particles such as smoke or dust, a cough is a reflex reaction that attempts to clear the particles and make breathing easier. Usually, this type of coughing is relatively infrequent, but coughing will increase with exposure to irritants such as smoke.
- At the same time, some 'medicated' cough drops (such as mentholated drops) do have some effect. The 'menthol' compounds are basically local anesthetic agents which can temporarily 'numb' the nerves in the throat that are irritated by the cold symptoms and provide some relief.
- No, your heart does not stop when you sneeze. A sneeze begins with a tickling sensation in the nerve endings that sends a message to your brain that it needs to rid itself of something irritating the lining of your nose. You first take a deep breath and hold it, which tightens your chest muscles.
- Viruses and bacteria. The most common cause of a cough is a respiratory tract infection, such as a cold or flu. Respiratory tract infections are usually caused by a virus and may last from a few days to a week. Infections caused by the flu may take a little longer to clear up and may sometimes require antibiotics.
Updated: 2nd October 2019