What Are Your Different Coughs Telling You?

>>  Sunday, May 19, 2013

Allergies, cold and the flu are some of many reasons that people develop types of coughing. Depending on the underlying cause, coughs may come and go without medical intervention. While many ignore the symptom, pulmonologists advise that coughing indicates a respiratory irregularity. Anyone experiencing shortness of breath, chest tightening and difficulty breathing should consult medical intervention immediately. Health care providers recommend that individuals seek medical assistance when experiencing the following symptoms:

A cough accompanied by fever and sputum production that lasts more than two weeks.

Coughing that does not resolve when other symptoms subside.

A cough that changes in character that may include sputum production, increased frequency or intensity, or accompanied by wheezing.

Coughing interferes with daily activities or causes sleeplessness.

Treatments do not alleviate coughing.

If individuals begin coughing up blood.

Dry Coughs


Dry, hacking coughs often accompany allergies or colds. The symptom often worsens at night. The coughing typically occurs secondary to throat irritation from postnasal drip. As a cold subsides, the coughing also diminishes unless a secondary infection develops. When caused by allergies, removing the irritant helps alleviate symptoms. Seasonal allergies often require antihistamines or mast stabilizing agents that prevent the immune system from overreacting.

Many people suffering from gastroesophageal reflux disorder, or GERD, experience a dry cough that sometimes accompanies heartburn. The symptoms usually worsen while lying flat. Obtaining treatment for the disorder also typically eliminates the coughing. Patients taking blood pressure medications belonging to classification known as angiotensin converting enzyme inhibitors, commonly called ACE inhibitors, may develop a cough after beginning the prescription or during the course of treatment. Stopping the medication generally resolves the cough.

Productive Cough


This type of cough involves phlegm production. The phlegm occurs as the lungs produce mucus in attempts at removing an irritant. Individuals may experience a productive cough because of allergies, bacterial, fungal or viral infections. While viral infections generally subside in time, allergies and other infections require medical treatment. Determining the underlying cause includes providing a health care provider with a history of symptoms in addition to revealing the colour of the sputum. Patients diagnosed with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, which includes asthma, bronchitis or emphysema often suffer from this type of cough.

Barking Cough


As the name implies, when coughing, the sound resembles a loud, hoarse, bark. The condition occurs when the upper respiratory tract experiences irritation and swelling. Most commonly associated with the childhood illness known as croup, the symptom might also appear in conjunction with a cold, respiratory infection or after inhaling a foreign object. Relief often comes from inhaling moist, warm air. When the coughing accompanies airway restriction, medical intervention becomes vital. In severe cases, treatment includes steroids and epinephrine.

Whooping Cough


Also called Pertussis, this cough develops in lieu of the presence of a contagious bacteria. Individuals experience unrelenting coughing followed by a gasping sound that resembles a whoop. Treatment may include a specified course of antibiotics, cough suppressants or inhaler therapy. Vaccination during infancy and childhood prevents development of the disease.

Sarah is a full time mum of three and loves  travelling, cooking and writing blogs. She hopes to answer new mums questions they might be worried about as she could relate when she had her first.


jheylo May 22, 2013 at 6:30 PM  

I was advised by my children's doctor that if they have cough just use humidifier without any solution and do it until they get better. No need to medicate them and it works great for us.

Rcel May 22, 2013 at 9:19 PM  

There are many kinds of coughs, as detailed in the post but one thing's common: I hate them all! Lol. I have had a very severe productive and dry cough a month ago. Only a ginger-lemon-honey concoction helped!

Shay Dub May 22, 2013 at 10:14 PM  

I hate dry cought it hurts the throat and i also don't like whooping cough makes me feel like dying. generally speaking I hate cough and I hate getting sick. Thanks for sharing this info about cough. good to know the names of the coughs

Bless May 23, 2013 at 2:10 AM  

During winter our girls always get cough from friends or from school. I hate it when they feel that way. If I feel something funny in my throat, I always drink lukewarm water or tea with honey and lemon to prevent it from becoming a full-blown cough :-)

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