How to Identify 5 Types of Coughs

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Photo credit: Rachael Ray Show Aired March 04, 2016

We’re in the thick of cold and flu season, and it can sometimes be hard to tell what exactly is going on when we or a loved one are sick. Dr. Travis Stork from The Doctors is here to identify five types of coughs and explain what could be causing them.

No. 1: A Wet Cough

A wet cough, or productive cough, is your body working to expel something from your lungs. Dr. Stork says he tends to see this with many different illnesses, like a cold, pneumonia or even post-nasal drip that could be caused by allergies.

Tip: Dr. Stork recommends a saline nasal spray when you have a wet cough.

No. 2: A Dry Cough

Dr. Stork says that a dry cough is going to be common with things like influenza or asthma.

No. 3: Whooping Cough

This very distinctive cough is caused by Pertussis, or Whooping Cough. You will hear a baby cough, then “whoop” or loudly inhale, because they are fighting to get air into their lungs. Dr. Stork recommends vaccinating for Pertussis, especially to protect young children.

No. 4: Croup

Dr. Stork says that croup causes the airway directly below the voice box to become constricted, so children who are suffering from it make a “barking” sound.

No. 5: Wheezing Cough

People who suffer from asthma or COPD, or are heavy smokers can get this wheezing kind of cough, according to the doctor. Steroids can help, Dr. Stork says.

If you or someone you love is suffering from a cough, Dr. Stork also recommends a good, old-fashioned way to soothe it – drinking warm liquids with honey (for those over one year old). And he ultimately recommends that when you are in doubt, see a doctor, because only a doctor is going to be able to specifically diagnose your issue.

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