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Forceful expulsion of air or phlegm from the lungs in a noisy manner.
Persons most commonly affected: All age groups and both sexes.
Organ or part of body involved: Lungs
Symptoms and indications: Coughs are often worse in the morning and it may be with or without phlegm.
Causes and risk factors: May be caused by an inflammation of the pharynx or the larynx. It may also develop due to a change in weather or seasonal changes. The real cause is, however, clogging of the bronchial tubes with waste matter. This is due to wrong feeding habits. Environmental pollutants, such as cigarette smoke, dust, or smog, can also cause a cough. In the case of cigarette smokers, the nicotine present in the smoke paralyzes the hairs (cilia) that regularly flush mucus from the respiratory system. The mucus then builds up, forcing the body to removed it by coughing. Post-nasal drip, the irritating trickle of mucus from the nasal passages into the throat caused by allergies or sinusitis, can also result in a cough.
Prevention: A vaporiser or steamy shower may help a dry cough by increasing the humidity in the air. Drink extra fluids to help thin the secretions in your throat and make them easier to cough up. Don't smoke and stay away from secondhand smoke. If you have seasonal allergies like hay fever, stay indoors during days when airborne allergens are high. If possible, keep the windows closed and use an air conditioner. Avoid fans that draw in air from outdoors. Shower and change your clothes after being outside. If you have allergies year round, cover your pillows and mattress with dust mite covers, use an air purifier, and avoid pets and other triggers. Eliminate foods that encourage mucus production (dairy products, chocolate, and bananas, as well as processed, refined, fried, and junk foods). Also avoid simple sugars, as they supress immune functions.