What is a cough?

Coughing is a normal reflex made by the body to ensure the airways remain clean and protected from any foreign material that accumulates in the airways. This may include irritants like smoke or dust, or excess secretions such as mucus, sputum and phlegm.

Coughing can affect children and adults of all ages. Duration and severity will depend on the type and cause of the cough. Coughing can be a part of a wide range of unrelated diseases, from the common cold to hayfever.

Depending on the symptoms, coughs can be divided into different types and this will determine which treatment is most suitable.

The main types of cough are: