Coughing is an important way to keep your throat and airways clear. However, too much coughing may mean you have a disease or disorder.
Some coughs are dry. Others are considered productive. A productive cough is one that brings up mucus. Mucus is also called phlegm or sputum.
Coughs can be either acute or chronic:
Recent upper airway infections, such as the common cold and flu, can cause coughs. Other common causes include:
If a child has a barking cough, see croup.
Chang AB, Glomb WB. Guidelines for evaluating chronic cough in pediatrics: ACCP evidence-based clinical practice guidelines. Chest. 2006;129(1 Suppl):260S-283S.
Chung KF, Widdicombe JG. Cough. In: Mason RJ, Broaddus VC, Martin TR, et al, eds. Murray and Nadel's Textbook of Respiratory Medicine. 5th ed. Philadelphia, Pa: Saunders Elsevier; 2010:chap 29.
Irwin RS, Baumann MH, Bolser DC, et al. Diagnosis and management of cough executive summary: ACCP evidence-based clinical practice guidelines. Chest. 2006;129(1 Suppl):1S-23S.
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