Cough and cold are one of the most common ailments that trouble mankind since time immemorial.
What is a Cough?
Cough is a sudden reflex action by the respiratory organs to clear the breathing passages that get obstructed by irritants, foreign particles, micro-organisms and secretions. When one coughs, there are three actions taking place within the body. First, the lungs inhale air, then they force the air out through exhalation against a closed glottis. Thirdly, this violent release of air forces open the glottis that leads to a distinct, loud sound called cough.
Two Types Of Cough
There are two types of cough one can suffer from. These include wet cough and dry cough. We shall have an overview the two types of coughs in the paragraphs below. This will help you understand and differentiate between the two coughs better.What is Wet Cough and Dry Cough?In order to understand the arguments between wet cough and dry cough, one needs to know what each cough means. Each of the coughs described individually below, will help you understand the difference between wet cough and dry cough better.Wet Cough
It is also known as productive cough. This cough is accompanied by production of sputum (mucus) and phlegm. The phlegm is drained from the postnasal drainage at the back of the throat from the nose. The sputum may also be produced in the lungs. It is very important to throw up the mucus from the body and not suppress it. This is because they contain many microbes and other particles that lead to respiratory illness and cough. The causes of this type of cough are given below.Viral Infection
Common cold caused by a viral infection is one of the most common causes of wet cough. The mucus that drips down the back of the throat, tends to trigger coughing. Thus, cough and cold go hand in hand during a viral respiratory infection.Bacterial Infection
There are many bacteria that cause upper respiratory infections as well as lung infection. In order to get rid of these microbes, the body secretes mucus that traps these organisms. Thus, one tends to suffer from cough with phlegm. If as a result of bacterial infection, it may indicate respiratory conditions like pneumonia, sinusitis, bronchitis and tuberculosis.Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD)
COPD is a disease that may lead to wet cough. This indicates that an infection has turned serious and one needs medical attention soon.Post-nasal Drip
A viral infection or continuous draining of mucus from the back of the throat may lead to wet cough. The nasal discharge flowing down the throat makes one feel like clearing the throat.Smoking
Chronic smokers or those who use tobacco tend to show signs of productive cough. This occurs due to lung damage and constant irritation of the esophagus. The lung and esophagus produce mucus to reduce the irritation and clear off the foreign particles in the lungs due to constant smoking.Dry Cough
Dry cough, just like wet cough, is known as non-productive cough. This is because this cough does not lead to production of sputum or phlegm. This cough generally is characterized by a dry, hacking sound. The causes of a dry cough are as follows -Viral Infection
Just like I said before, cough and cold go together. In the same way, dry cough too can be caused by a viral infection. Many times, one tends to suffer from dry cough after a bout of cold and flu. This cough lasts for a couple of weeks and it tends to worsen at night.Bronchospasm
A spasm occurring in the bronchial tubes leads to cough due to irritation. These bronchospasms mostly cause dry cough at night.Allergies
Allergy to dust, pollen, smoke, chemical irritants, etc. may lead to dry cough.Asthma
Chronic dry cough is a sign of asthma. If one suffers from wheezing, breathing trouble, etc. one should seek medical help for diagnosis of asthma.Blockage
When one tends to breathe in some foreign matter or a food particle, or if any object enters the windpipe, it immediately leads to a reflex action. This causes one to develop a dry cough that helps expel the object blocking the respiratory passage.
Difference Between Wet and Dry Cough
Wet Cough: It is called productive cough.
A dry cough : It is known as a non-productive cough.
Wet Cough: There is the production of phlegm and sputum.
Dry Cough: There is no secretion of phlegm or mucus.
Wt Cough: It does not involve itchiness in throat.
Dry cough causes a lot of irritation and itchiness in the throat.
Wet cough occurs when an allergen or pathogen enters the respiratory system or occurs when an infection leads to bronchitis or pneumonia.
Dry cough is a result of asthma, gastroesophageal reflux, use of medications like ACE inhibitors and dust and pollen.
Natural expectorants soften the mucus and expel it easily and are hence used to treat wet coughs.
Antitussives (cough suppressant), like codeine linctus, help in suppression and treatment of a dry cough.