Coughing is a normal reflex to protect and clean our airways (respiratory tract). Coughing clears irritating material (e.g., smoke or dust) and excess secretions (mucus, sputum, phlegm) from our throat, air passages and lungs.
Cough is a symptom of a range of medical conditions and sometimes a person may have more than one reason for coughing. Some causes of coughing include:
Sometimes coughing can relate to a certain activity (e.g., exercise, eating, posture), situation or time of day. Take notice of when and how a cough starts and how long it lasts. A cough may be only one of your symptoms. Watch for any other signs of illness or discomfort (e.g., allergy, pain, wheezing). By describing your cough, you can help a doctor or pharmacist to choose the best treatment for you.
Seek medical advice about your cough if:
Information adapted from Coughs: PSA Self Care 2010.
Please note Asthma can be diagnosed at any age.
For a persistent cough and once other causes are eliminated you may also request your GP send a referral to AFNT to see one of our friendly Respiratory health educators for education and a lung function test.