No doubt many of you are already aware that coughing is a bodily response that is designed to remove any foreign objects entering via the respiratory tract, this reaction is equivalent to sneezing. The causes of this reaction are commonly dust, mucus, or other foreign objects. While coughing is a relatively effective technique for keeping out foreign intruders it can also be a catalyst for spreading germs. Mild coughs will normally result in a cold or influenza symptoms; these are common through the winter months. This type of cough is usually short term and will normally disappear of its own accord.
Acute and Chronic coughs:
– An acute cough is one that will last for less than two weeks, and will subside after one episode. If a cough exceeds two weeks or re-occurs then it is deemed as a chronic cough.
– Chronic coughs might be re-occurring ones and they could last around three months with separate episodes. Anyone with predispositions such as respiratory conditions including asthma or tuberculosis will more prone to chronic coughs.
A cough can be caused by variety of different factors including but not limited to:
– Foreign objects in the respiratory tract as mentioned previously
– Asthma or Tuberculosis
– An infection in the upper respiratory tract
– Or even emotional and psychological problems, in this case it is known as a psychogenic cough
As mentioned earlier a cough can have some quite significant medical implications and can be the symptom of some serious medical conditions. It could characterise:
Asthma – A disease caused by constriction in the respiratory tract, the triggers for asthma can vary depending on the person, and commonly dust, cold air, and smoke will suffice. The symptoms of this will usually be coughing and a shortness of breath.
Pneumonia – This can cause the lungs o become inflamed or infected, which in turn can lead to them filling up with mucus or water. Symptoms will include a cough and a high fever, a doctor should be seen immediately.
Tuberculosis – This disease will attack the lungs and is contagious; if it is not treated immediately then the effects can be lethal. Regular coughs are a common symptom, so an individual with Tuberculosis might find that they have the same time of day or night. Luckily most schools now vaccinate against TB.
Bronchitis – This is a disease that can come about as the result of a viral infection located in the small airways to the lungs. Sufferers will often find that their cough is often accompanies by whistle like breathing sound.