Coughing: A defense mechanism Coughing: A defense mechanism

Coughing helps you to clear out your respiratory system. If it is excessive, however, it can be a warning sign of a cold or a more serious condition.


The body has several defense mechanisms to fight disease. With the throat and the airways, this process takes place by coughing, which is how the body eliminates contaminants and other microorganisms. According to the Colombian Medical College, the function of coughing is to eliminate potential germs before they cause infection.


As this entity indicates, by itself, this symptom is not a sign of disease. It is the sign of a response that appears when the nerve fibers located in the respiratory system are irritated.


Coughing is categorized into two types:

  • Dry:Does not produce sputum or phlegm, but causes pain when swallowing.
  • Productive:Includes expectoration, as well as secretions or mucus.


What causes coughing

Colds are the most common causes of coughing due to a dry throat or a gagging sensation. It can also be a response to different conditions of the respiratory system – such as asthma, bronchitis or pneumonia – or other conditions such as gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD).


Coughing that gets considerably worse when you lay down to sleep can be a sign of congestive heart failure, which requires medical attention. Although it is normal for smokers to cough every day, it shouldn’t be considered as something normal and it is important to see a specialist to rule out any other hidden problems.


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