Stephen J. Schueler, M.D.

Overview Evaluation Treatment cough medicine precautions expectorants specialist Home Care cough in adults cough in children warning signs Underlying Cause Types Anatomy

Productive Cough Overview

Another name for Productive Cough is Cough.

What is a cough?
A cough is a sudden blast of air from the lungs. Coughing is a reflex that clears the air passages, in order to keep them open. The cough reflex is an important defense mechanism: coughing expels bacteria, mucus and foreign substances that can cause pneumonia. Any process that irritates the windpipe or air passageways in the lungs can cause a cough. Common causes include chronic bronchitis, COPD, asthma, and upper respiratory infections.

What are the symptoms of a cough?
A cough may be dry or produce mucus. The mucus may be think and white or thick and colored brown or yellow. In some cases, a cough may produce blood-streaked mucus. Commonly associated symptoms are fever, chest wall pain, wheezing, sinus congestion, and breathing difficulty.

How does the doctor treat a cough?
Treatment for cough depends on underlying cause. Treatment for a cough may include avoidance of smoking, inhaled bronchodilators, cough suppressants, antihistamines, corticosteroids, and antibiotics.

Continue to Productive Cough Evaluation

Last Updated: Aug 25, 2010 References
Authors: Stephen J. Schueler, MD; John H. Beckett, MD; D. Scott Gettings, MD
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PubMed Productive Cough References
  1. Chang AB, Asher MI. A review of cough in children. J Asthma. 2001 Jun;38(4):299-309. [11456383]
  2. Irwin RS, Curley FJ. The treatment of cough. A comprehensive review. Chest. 1991 Jun;99(6):1477-84. [2036833]
  3. Schroeder K, Fahey T. Should we advise parents to administer over the counter cough medicines for acute cough? Systematic review of randomised controlled trials. Arch Dis Child. 2002 Mar;86(3):170-5. [11861232]
  4. Schroeder K, Fahey T. Systematic review of randomised controlled trials of over the counter cough medicines for acute cough in adults. BMJ. 2002 Feb 9;324(7333):329-31. [11834560]
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