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sudden, forceful expiration of air from the lungs caused by an involuntary contraction of the muscles controlling the process of breathing. The cough is a response to some irritating condition such as inflammation or the presence of mucus (sputum) in the respiratory tract, as in infectious disease, or to heavy dust or industrial or tobacco smoke. Coughing may also be a reflex action to factors outside the respiratory tract; diseases that are not respiratory in nature (e.g., congestive heart failure or mitral valve disease) often bring on coughing. If there is mucus or a foreign substance in the respiratory tract, the cough should not be hindered since by this action the offending matter is expelled from the body. If, however, the cough becomes exhausting, sedation is indicated.



a reflex act usually occurring as a result of the irritation of the mucous membrane in the respiratory tract during an inflammatory process caused by pathological products (for example, sputum) or foreign bodies. A cough is one of the principal indications of disease in the respiratory organs (larynx, trachea, bronchi, and lungs). The cough center in the brain can sometimes be stimulated without irritation of the respiratory tracts. This is the so-called nervous cough that occurs in cases of fear and embarrassment. A distinction is made between a dry cough (without the formation and secretion of sputum) and a wet cough (with sputum).

The cough stimulus begins by deep inhalation, followed by a tensing of the bronchial and all the respiratory muscles resulting in forced expulsion. In so doing, the rima glottidis is closed, and intrathoracic pressure rises sharply. With the opening of the rima glottidis, the air bursts forth from the respiratory tract, carrying with it the sputum that has accumulated in the bronchi and pulmonary alveoli, dust particles, and so forth. Thus, a cough can be beneficial in helping to cleanse the respiratory tract. However, a protracted and severe cough that occurs with infections of the pleura, liver, and some other organs is harmful to the organism, since a systematic elevation of the intrathoracic and intrabronchial pressure leads to the gradual formation of pulmonary emphysema and impedes the flow of blood through the veins to the heart. This can lead to cardiopulmonary insufficiency.

Treatment is directed at the affliction that has caused thecough. With a wet cough, particularly if it is difficult to bring upthe sputum, expectorants are used; with a dry, persistent cough, cough suppressants are administered.


A sudden, violent expulsion of air after deep inspiration and closure of the glottis.
References in periodicals archive ?
We'll send a lot of our waste up the Con Sil shaft, and that will free up the Jewell shaft for more ore hoisting," Cougher said.
The point isn't whether the cougher was really a Nazi, but the inherent fascination of the document, the extent to which what we call "authenticity" intrudes into all recordings, whether live or not, even when there is nothing as egregious as a fascist cough.
Pontypridd College business studies lecturer Tecwen Whittock, who is accused of being the illicit cougher, was no more than a telephone acquaintance who was looking for tips to help him get on the hit show.
Prosecutor Mr Hilliard said the cougher spluttered in desperation and actually shouted "No".
He had never fallen before, and then he came back and coughed his head off-he was the pioneer cougher in the yard and it took him ages to get over it.
It is possible to smother a cough with a handkerchief, even if it does result in streaming eyes for the cougher.
Ingram repeatedly kept saying Berlin but the cougher spluttered loudly.
And so, like all my fellow coughers out there, we plod on.
Of 124 sputum samples collected from chronic coughers 4 (3.
A prescription says to the world (or at least all the coughers in the waiting room) that you are genuinely sick, as sick as you thought you were, and not just a paranoid time-waster with too much access to internet selfdiagnosis sites.
Rock dust & black backs & hacks of coughers, the dream rises in the Frenchman's Africa mind,--Invalids are always loved--The Red Sea in June, the coast clanks of Arabia--Havar, Havar, the magic trading post --Aden, Aden, South of Bedouin-- Ogaden, Ogaden, never known--(Meanwhile Verlaine sits in Paris over cognacs wondering what Arthur looks like now, & how bleak their eyebrows because they believed in earlier eyebrow beauty-- Who cares?