(redirected from coughers)
Also found in: Dictionary, Thesaurus, Medical.


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 ?
Purposive sampling of the study areas, lack of a comparative study, focusing on chronic coughers as well as failure to resample negative chronic coughers could be seen as a limitation of this study.
But now top brass have scuppered the plan because they were afraid their big night would be sabotaged by an army of coughers.
Community-based screening of chronic coughers (>2 weeks) was performed from March 1995 to October 2000.
This was partly due to swallowing lines as they constantly switched characters, poor voice projection in the huge auditorium, the often-impenetrable Irish accents and a bigger than usual army of coughers in the audience.
Some asthma sufferers just have a cough, and the wheeze can be difficult to hear, so that we are now testing all our persistent coughers, to avoid missing a case.
The talkers and coughers and people who give their children noisy cellophane candy wrappers to play with during the film will get totally zapped.
Decongestants and other additives can also be counterproductive in products designed to put coughers to sleep, notes Kornberg.
Berating coughers in the crowd ("this is the best song you'll ever cough through") and taking a question or two, he described the experience as like Junior Showtime.
We have had a few coughers all season, and there was an increase to about a third of them in January, but we have stabled Detroit City, Fair Along, Boychuk and Liberate in boxes separate to the rest of the yard.
I mean the conversationalists, the canoodlers, the rustlers and the terminal coughers.
But now top brass have scuppered the plan at the last minute because they were afraid their big night would be sabotaged by an army of coughers when he walked on stage.