Cough is not a disease, but rather a symptom of an underlying medical condition. Sometimes it is a natural reaction to an airway irritant. It can also be the body’s attempt to remove a foreign object or mucus.

There are productive coughs and dry coughs. Productive coughs produce phlegm or mucus that comes up from the lungs or drains down the back of the throat. Coughs producing mucus are clearing mucus from the lungs and should not be suppressed. Chronic (ongoing) cough should be brought to the attention of a physician, particularly if the person is a smoker.

Dry coughs do not produce phlegm or mucus, and are usually the airway’s reaction to an irritant or to asthma, or to certain medications (e.g., ACE inhibitors).

Make an appointment now. Or call 216.444.6503 or 800.223.2273 Ext. 4-6503 to schedule an appointment with a Cleveland Clinic pulmonary physician.

Reviewed by a Cleveland Clinic medical professional.

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