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Anything that obstructs the windpipe or breathing passages can cause a cough. The most common cause is the common cold, flu, and sinusitis. The mucus in the breathing passages causes the cough.Coughs can also be triggered when you accidentally inhale small objects, such as pieces of food, or breathe in dust, cigarette smoke, and fumes.Coughs can cause irritations to the airways themselves if not treated.Drugs can cause coughing fits along with smoking. Smoking is a major cause of coughing and quite often smokers bring up thick phlegm. This is dangerous and usually indicated that they are in the first stages of chronic bronchitis, emphysema, tuberculosis or lung cancer.Any persistent cough may be a symptom of an underlying illness. Talk to your doctor about your type of cough, the frequency, the phlegm etc to allow him to diagnose the cause.Although some of the chronic lung diseases in which coughing may be a symptom are incurable, most are treatable
Having a cough is not necessarily dangerous especially if it is present with typical ‘cold-like symptoms’ such as a runny nose, sore throat and sneezing. This may be simply a case of the common cold.Since coughing (particularly a phlegmy cough) is a protective response by the body, suppressing it with cough medicine not only reduces the clearing action but may serve to cover up a more serious underlying problem. See your doctor if the coughing goes on for longer than 7 - 10 days.Antibiotics are not normally prescribed for a cold or a viral infection, the best remedy for this is bed rest and cold relieving remedies (see colds and flu). However antibiotics might be prescribed for an underlying bacterial infection. If your cold or flu produces thick, sticky sputum, an expectorant may help to clear your lungs.A non-productive cough can be treated by over the counter cough suppressants, cough lollies and soothers. Many over-the-counter products contain ingredients that will slightly numb your irritated throat and may provide temporary relief.Ultimately, for any cough that persists for more than 7 to 10 days, seek medical advice.
* Your cough lasts for more than 7 to 10 days* Your cough produces yellow, green, pink, or rust-colored sputum.* Your cough is severe, enduring, and accompanied by any of the following signs: hoarseness, sore throat, shortness of breath, wheezing, chest pains or tightness, a temperature, headache, back and leg aches, fatigue, rashes, or weight loss. See your doctor immediately if you have any of these additional symptoms.