The Essential Role of Mucus in Wet Coughs

When you cough, do you feel relieved or tired? Do you have dryness of the throat or soreness of the airway? If so, it’s likely that your cough could be a warning sign of lung disease. Lung disease can progress to cancer if it is not diagnosed and treated.

It is common for coughs to increase with age and for chronic coughs to be associated with smoking or asthma. There are many reasons why we cough and how our cough can affect our health, but one of the primary risks of coughing is cancer. In this blog, we will discuss what coughing is, its risks and how you can take care of yourself to reduce your risk of developing lung disease or cancer.

Causes of coughing

Coughing is a common symptom of inflammation in the airway. It can be caused by common causes such as allergies involving the nose or sinuses, asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), the common cold and flu, lung infection such as pneumonia or acute bronchitis, sinusitis with postnasal drip, GERD, angiotensin-converting enzyme inhibitors, cigarette smoking, and secondhand smoke.

Acute coughs lasting less than two months can be caused by upper respiratory tract infections, hay fever, inhalation of irritants, and lower respiratory tract infections. Keep in mind that chronic coughs may reflect inflammation of the airway and mucous membranes elsewhere in the body.

- Coughing is a common symptom of many common respiratory diseases. It can be caused by allergies, asthma, the common cold, flu, sinusitis, and other lung conditions.

- Dry coughs may be a sign of more serious health problems such as lung cancer. In rare cases, dry coughs may also be a symptom of Upper respiratory tract infections (URTIs), hay fever, or inhalation of irritants.

- Asthma and allergies may also trigger bouts of coughing. Long-term exposure to secondhand smoke may increase the risk of developing lung cancer.

- People who are chronic smokers are more likely to experience chronic coughs than nonsmokers. A chronic cough can be a warning sign of asthma or chronic bronchitis, which can lead to severe lung disease and even death if left untreated. 

- To prevent dry coughs and lung cancer, avoid smoking and follow asthma management guidelines outlined by a medical professional.

Tips to prevent coughing and the risks associated with coughing include practicing good hygiene habits, such as washing your hands frequently, avoiding irritants and allergens, such as chemicals, mold and fragrances, and using over-the-counter medications containing expectorants, such as guaifenesin.

Besides smoking and secondhand smoke, other factors that can increase your risk of coughing are air pollution, asthma, chronic lung disease, cystic fibrosis, chronic bronchitis and pertussis. To reduce coughing symptoms and prevent the development of lung cancer, you can quit smoking and avoid secondhand smoke. Home remedies such as drinking antioxidant-rich tea with honey, using a humidifier, and using cough drops may also help ease coughing symptoms. You can also practice good hygiene habits to prevent respiratory illnesses.

How to deal with a cough?

- A wet cough is different from a dry cough because it produces phlegm. As the mucus in a wet cough can obstruct airways, it's important to manage this type of cough as soon as possible.

- If you have a persistent wet cough, it is important to consult a medical professional as it may be a sign of an underlying health issue. A medical professional can recommend medications and other treatments to help effectively manage the cough without causing any harm to your lungs.

- Another common cause of wet cough is respiratory infection, which can be caused by bacteria or viruses. In these cases, medical intervention is necessary to help treat the infection and stop it from spreading.

- Finally, chronic lung conditions such as asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) are also common causes of wet coughs. In these cases, medical intervention is essential to help treat the underlying condition and stop the cough from becoming persistent or chronic.

What are the side effects of coughing?

Coughing can be caused by a variety of factors, including allergies, asthma, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), pneumonia, colds and flu, sinusitis, heart disease medications called angiotensin-converting enzyme inhibitors (ACEs) and lung cancer. In addition to causing sore throat and mucous production, coughing can cause irritation of the airway and throat. This inflammation can result in difficulty breathing or inflammation of the vocal cords.

Other common side effects of coughing include coughing up blood (haemoptysis), sore throat and runny nose. Over-the-counter cough suppressants such as dextromethorphan may help with these symptoms. Additionally, inhalation of irritants such as fumes or vapors can cause coughing and throat inflammation. Lower respiratory tract infections such as bronchitis and pneumonia can also cause coughing and fever. 

By understanding the common causes of coughing, you can better manage your symptoms and ensure your health remains optimal.

What are the risks associated with coughing?

There are many risks associated with coughing, the most common of which are allergies, asthma, COPD, upper respiratory tract infections (URTI), irritants in the airway, and rare cases of dry coughs indicating more serious health conditions. Here are some more details:

1. Allergies: Coughing can be caused by allergies such as hay fever, cock-a-doodle-doo, or asthma. When these allergies are triggered, your body releases histamines which cause inflammation and mucus production in the airways.

2. Asthma: Asthma is a lung disease that affects millions of people around the world. It is characterized by shortness of breath, chest pain, wheezing, and frequent inflammation of the airway. Coughing can easily worsen asthma symptoms and may even lead to a asthma attack.

3. COPD: COPD is a chronic lung disease that leads to decreased airflow and increased mucus production in the airway. Coughing can further aggravate COPD symptoms and increase your risk of developing pneumonia.

4. Upper respiratory tract infections (URTI): URTIs are short-term respiratory infections that are common in people of all ages. They can be caused by bacteria

What factors increase the risk of developing lung cancer?

Several factors increase the risk of developing lung cancer, some of which are listed below.

1. People with certain immunodeficiency or autoimmune disorders, chronic lung conditions such as asthma or chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), and cystic fibrosis have an increased risk of developing lung cancer.

2. Some cancers that affect the upper respiratory tract, such as non-small cell lung cancer and small cell lung cancer, can increase the risk of lung cancer.

3. Infections such as pneumonia and bronchitis, pleural effusion, pulmonary embolism, and superior vena cava syndrome may increase the risk of lung cancer.

4. Radiation exposure and air pollution can also be contributing factors in developing lung cancer.

What can I do to reduce my risk of developing lung cancer?

There are a few things that you can do to reduce your risk of developing lung cancer.

The first thing you should do is avoid exposure to known carcinogens like cigarette smoke and secondhand smoke. These types of exposures significantly increase your risk of lung cancer.

In addition, make a tax-deductible donation to support lung health research and education. This will help to improve the understanding of lung cancer and its causes.

Also, take steps to reduce airway irritation, such as avoiding irritants and allergens like chemicals, mold, and fragrances. If your cough is severe and does not improve with over-the-counter cough medicines, consider switching to an ARB medication like losartan (Cozaar) or valsartan (Diovan). ARBs are often very effective in treating chronic coughs.


Coughing is a common reflexive behavior people engage in to clear mucus from airway. Because of its reflexive nature, coughing is a difficult behavior to change. Often, people cough when they are experiencing asthma-like symptoms such as chest tightness, shortness of breath, and wheezing. Also, coughing clears mucus from your airway and helps you breathe more easily. It’s vital that you understand the causes of coughing and how to prevent them from affecting your health. Experiment with lifestyle changes such as drinking enough water, eating fruits and vegetables, and getting enough rest to see the most improvement in your cough.

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