What's Going on When You Cough?

  • You might feel a scratchy tickle in your throat. This tickle signals your brain that it's time to cough.
  • Your brain tells your lungs to let out a sudden burst of air–surprise, you're coughing!
  • Sometimes you can control it, but other times you can't. 

What You Should Know About Cough

Coughing helps clear mucus and other matter (inhaled irritants) from the throat and lungs. Remember to help decrease the spread of germs by:

  • Covering your mouth and nose with a tissue when you cough and always putting your used tissue in the waste basket when finished.
  • If you don't have a tissue, cough or sneeze into your upper sleeve, not your hands.
  • Always clean your hands after coughing or sneezing. It is best to wash with soap and water or use a hand sanitizer.

 What Makes You Cough

  • If you have a cold or respiratory infection, coughing expels mucus/phlegm that builds up in your lungs. These droplets may contain viruses or bacteria that can make others sick, so always cover your mouth when coughing and wash your hands frequently.
  • You don't have to be sick to cough. Dust, pollen, smoke, and strong odors all can trigger a cough. Even though you're probably not spreading germs, it's a good idea to cover your mouth anyway.

How to Care for a Cough

  • If you have a serious, persistent cough, check with your health care provider. But if your cough is just starting, or if it's mild and doesn't bother you too much, here's what you can do:
  • Drink lots of fluids.
  • Get plenty of rest, even if you don't feel sick.
  • Consider an over-the-counter cough medicine like Delsym® to relieve your cough.
  • Check the Delsym label for more information.

Talk to your pharmacist or health care provider to find out which medicine is best for you.