Why may a productive cough appear as a dry cough?

Do you notice a change in the sound of your cough as your sickness progresses? Why does this happen and what does it indicate? As you may have guessed, this change indicates an aggravation of the disease and its symptoms. We know how annoying it is dealing with that pesky cough which is why we would like to share some tips on how you can get rid of your cough.

Coughing, an important respiratory defense mechanism, is a reflex action that rapidly expels air from the lungs to clear excessive secretions, fluids, or foreign irritants.

It is important to know the differences between dry cough and wet/productive cough as this tells you more about the nature or cause of your illness. Dry coughs are usually a result of asthma, or allergic reactions to environmental pollutants; whereas a productive cough, or wet cough, is a result of Upper Respiratory Tract Infections (URTIs) such as bronchitis.

At the beginning of an illness, a cough may appear to be dry with no clear signs of phlegm build up in the chest. A cough that initially appears dry may seem to develop into a productive cough for a number of reasons, and they are:

  • Inappropriate treatment or misdiagnosis
    • Sometimes a dry cough can be misdiagnosed and the incorrect treatment for a dry cough can make symptoms of a disease worse and cause further accumulation of the sticky phlegm in the lungs. If you sense this is happening, visit the physician to ensure that you are receiving the correct treatment for your symptoms.
  • Environmental factors and other irritants
    • Environmental factors like dust, pollen and other irritants can aggravate the cough you are experiencing and make it worse. Smoking, in specific, has been found to make any URTI worse.

During a cold or respiratory infection, the airways in the lungs become infected and increasingly produce excess phlegm. The phlegm causes blockages leading to congestion, shortness of breath and a wet cough. The mucus can act as fertile ground for pathogenic germs which is why it is important to support the process of coughing up the mucus, instead of suppressing the urge to cough.

An expectorant thins and loosens phlegm, breaking up the congestion and making it easier to clear the phlegm from the airways via coughing.

It is important, especially where children are involved, to select an effective and well-tolerated medication. Plant-based cough medicines are highly regarded for the treatment of productive cough. In such cases, Prospan® is highly recommended. With its patented extract EA 575®, Prospan® is the world’s leading herbal medication for productive/wet coughs as it liquefies the mucus, aids the dilation of bronchial muscles and induces anti-inflammatory effects leading to an overall sense of cough relief for the patient. Over the last 69 years, generations of families have placed their trust in Prospan®, a staple in all households.


We hope this was useful! Prospan® wishes you great health and relief from all types of cough!

Thank you for reading our article, we hope your days are cough-free!

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