Every person in the world knows about coughing and has experienced it many times in his or her life. People cough when the sensory nerves in the tubes people use to breathe get stimulated. When persistent dry cough occurs, a person inhales a small amount of breath and the larynx closes momentarily. At that moment, the muscles in the abdomen and chest which are used for breathing contract and that makes the need to drive the air out of the lungs even greater. As a result, the air bursts out and the airway is cleared of dust and dirt. People with asthma suffer from tight airways and they experience coughing quite often.
People do not know, but coughing is a very important part of the body’s defensive mechanism. The lungs need to remain sterile and when they get infected with dust and dirt, it is through coughing that people clear them out.
In almost all cases of coughing, the main reason why that happens is because there is something in the respiratory passages that should not be there. In most cases, it is some dust particles that people inhale. In some cases of coughing the reason is food going the wrong way. However, coughing can also be a sign of some lung infection.
Apart from these reasons, coughing can also be provoked by some other things. For instance, a common cold is known to cause coughing which than lasts for a couple of weeks. Pneumonia, acute heart failure and pulmonary embolism are also known to provoke coughing. A lot of people who smoke also suffer from chronic cough. Asthma is another common cause of cough. Certain bacterial or viral infections in the lungs like bronchitis, whooping cough and croup in children are other factors that cause coughing.
These are not all the causes of coughing.
An important thing that people need to know is that dry cough is not a disease but rather a symptom. When people want to treat the cough, they need to treat the underlying disease. The doctor will aid a person in discovering the underlying cause.
People should definitely look for an underlying cause when there are certain things that accompany the coughing like chest pain, shortness of breath or wheezing, pain and swelling in the calf, constant night-time cough, whooping cough, sudden weight loss, fever and sweating and hoarseness of the voice. A person should also go to the hospital if the phlegm is green, rusty brown, yellow, blood-stained or foul smelling.