What cough do I have? Signs of dry, chesty, tickly and mucus coughs - and how to treat it

Coughs are usually caused by a cold or flu infection, according to the NHS.

They could also be caused by smoking, heartburn, or some respiratory health conditions.

There’s normally no reason to see a GP, and the cough clears within three weeks.

But, with so many different types of cough, each with different treatments, it’s best to know what type of condition you have.

Dry cough

A persistent dry cough can be painful and intense.

It may even cause patients to avoid coughing, because they’re afraid of the pain that follows.

“A dry cough can be felt in your throat rather than in the chest, as opposed to the chesty and mucus coughs,” said cough medicine manufacturer Benylin.

“Dry coughs are caused by an inflammation of the upper airways.”

There’s usually no phlegm with dry coughs.

Some dry cough medicines help to suppress the coughing mechanism, while helps the patient to feel better.

Dry, tickly cough

A dry, tickly cough can feel uncomfortable and irritating.

It may feel as if someone is tickling your throat as you’re talking.

“The irritated area in the throat produces a tickly sensation causing you to cough.

“A sore throat can also be experienced with a dry & tickly cough, as the constant coughing may irritate the throat.”

Cough mixtures help to soothe the irritate area of the throat, relieving the tickling sensation.

Chesty cough

“When you’ve got a chesty cough it can feel tight as if someone was squeezing your chest too hard,” said Benylin.

“Chesty coughs are caused by a build-up of phlegm in the lungs and result in chest congestion.”

The cough can be caused by dusty, bacteria or viruses entering the lungs and causing an infection.

Cough medicines help to loosen phlegm in the chest, making it easier to cough up.

It also contains a decongestant, which relieves the feeling of being tight-chested.

Mucus cough

“When a wet mucus cough sits on your chest it feels heavy as though an octopus is weighing down on your chest,” said Benylin.

“When you get a cold, more mucus is produced to trap the viruses or bacteria.

“This mucus can gather in the respiratory system and a cough reflex is triggered to help remove it.”

You can loosen mucus in the chest by taking some mucus cough remedies. Loosening the mucus makes it easier to cough up.

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