Why do people cough

Why do people cough

Most people think that coughing is an illness triggered about by certain allergens. However, coughing is actually one of the many ways in which your body gets rid of these allergens (including food, dirt, mucus and phlegm) before they can cause serious trouble.

Recurrent coughs happen to be one of the major reasons for frequent visits to the doctor with the annual turnover for treatment crossing $1 billion in the U.S. alone. So what exactly causes these coughs and why does the body react the way it does when a potential allergen is in sight? Read on! You can get cough if:

  • You have asthma or are prone to allergies

Allergens like dust and mold can enter your respiratory tract and create problems if your body doesn’t get rid of them quickly. So that’s exactly what your body would do.

In a desperate attempt to get that allergen out of your windpipe, your body would react by triggering a series of recurrent coughs to kick out the allergen before it can enter the lungs. And that is why you end up coughing vigorously whenever you inhale an irritant like dust, mold, strong perfumes, cigarette smoke and even cold air.

  • You have a virus

Flus and common colds are pretty common in the winter seasons (although you can get them in summer as well). During the initial days of the cold, your body would make you cough repeatedly in order to remove the mucus blocking the nose and throat. This will usually stop in a week or two.

Some coughs however, tend to remain even weeks after recovering from a cold or flu. Also called as ‘dry coughs’, these can irritate the lungs further, causing the cough to recur again and again. These dry coughs could lead to potential problems and would need to get checked by a doctor.

  • You have acid reflux

You are no stranger to coughs if you happen to suffer from acid reflux or heartburn, conditions which would cause the stomach acids to jump back up your throat frequently. These stomach acids can be irritating on the windpipe and throat, and can cause severe bouts of coughing in certain cases.

  • You have postnatal drip

A postnatal drip is usually triggered by flu, common colds, allergies and sinusitis, etc. A nasal congestion can cause mucus and phlegm to drip down your throat, especially when you are asleep. This can make you cough for at least a good number of minutes before you are able to catch your breath and calm down.

In addition to all these causes, you can also get a cough if you happen to have sleep apnea or lung inflammation, or happen to take certain drugs that can trigger coughs.