Coughing is the body's way of removing foreign material or mucus from the lungs and upper airways or of reacting to an irritated airway. Coughs have distinctive traits you can learn to recognize. A cough is only a symptom, not a disease, and often the importance of your cough can be determined only when other symptoms are evaluated. Coughs often occur with bacterial and viral respiratory infections, but there are many other causes of cough. Follow the links below to find WebMD's comprehensive coverage about cough, causes, how to treat a cough, and much more.