Coughing Symptoms - Causes & Treatments

Coughing is the body’s natural way of clearing the lung airways and protecting them from foreign substances. A cough can be dry or expel mucus from the lungs. The occasional cough to clear your throat is normal. However, if a cough persists then it might be a sign of something else going on within your body.

Coughs can be classified in three ways: acute, subacute, and chronic. A cough is considered acute if it lasts less than three weeks. Subacute coughing is any cough lasting three to eight weeks, and a cough lasting longer than eight weeks is considered chronic and may be a sign of a serious disease or condition.

Acute coughs can be a sign of:

  • Common cold
  • Flu
  • Pneumonia
  • Whooping cough

Chronic coughs can be a sign of:

  • Allergies
  • Asthma
  • Bronchitis
  • COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease)
  • GERD
  • Lung damage from smoking
  • Postnasal drip

For a child, coughing can be a sign of a disease that is not normally found in adults. Coughing can be a symptom of Croup, lower respiratory infection, an inhaled object, or exposure to secondhand smoke. Any cough that is accompanied by blood, wheezing, shortness of breath, or phlegm should be evaluated by a doctor right away.