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How does a cold cause a productive cough?

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Viruses cause colds. You cough because your body is trying to get rid of mucus that's full of germs. You're more likely to get a cold in cooler months. But you can get one at any time of year.

In addition to your cough, you may:

Treatment for a cold includes plenty of rest and fluids. You can ease some of your symptoms with over-the-counter medicine. But drugs can't cure your cold.

You'll probably get better in 7-10 days. If you don't, or if you get symptoms like a fever or aches, talk with your doctor.

  • Get a runny nose
  • Have a sore throat
  • Sneeze a lot

SOURCES:

Harvard Health Publishing: “Cracking the cough code,” “Treatments for post-nasal drip.” 

Cleveland Clinic: “How Doctors Crack the Code for Your Chronic Cough,” “Postnasal Drip, Can It Make Your Queasy?”

National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute: “Cough,” “Pneumonia,” “COPD,” “Cystic Fibrosis,” “Bronchiectasis.”

CDC: “CDC Features: Common Colds: Protect Yourself and Others,” “Influenza (Flu): Treatment; Who Needs a Flu Vaccine & When,” “Antibiotic Prescribing and Use in Doctor’s Offices: Chest Cold (Acute Bronchitis),” “Pneumonia: Vaccines help Prevent Pneumonia.”

American Lung Association: “Pneumonia Symptoms and Diagnosis.”

American Academy of Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery: “What Is Post-Nasal Drip?”

International Journal of Otolaryngology : “Chronic Cough, Reflux, Postnasal Drip Syndrome, and the Otolaryngologist.”

Reviewed by Carmelita Swiner on April 17, 2020

SOURCES:

Harvard Health Publishing: “Cracking the cough code,” “Treatments for post-nasal drip.” 

Cleveland Clinic: “How Doctors Crack the Code for Your Chronic Cough,” “Postnasal Drip, Can It Make Your Queasy?”

National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute: “Cough,” “Pneumonia,” “COPD,” “Cystic Fibrosis,” “Bronchiectasis.”

CDC: “CDC Features: Common Colds: Protect Yourself and Others,” “Influenza (Flu): Treatment; Who Needs a Flu Vaccine & When,” “Antibiotic Prescribing and Use in Doctor’s Offices: Chest Cold (Acute Bronchitis),” “Pneumonia: Vaccines help Prevent Pneumonia.”

American Lung Association: “Pneumonia Symptoms and Diagnosis.”

American Academy of Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery: “What Is Post-Nasal Drip?”

International Journal of Otolaryngology : “Chronic Cough, Reflux, Postnasal Drip Syndrome, and the Otolaryngologist.”

Reviewed by Carmelita Swiner on April 17, 2020

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How does the flu cause a productive cough?

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