Irritative cough

What is an Irritative Cough?

An irritative cough is one of the most common types of coughs. It is characterised by the sudden and strong spasms of coughing, with the feeling of an ‘itchy’ throat. It is caused by the inflammation of the airways or the mucus which can be triggered by common everyday irritants, allergens, and other more serious conditions.

What Causes an Irritative Cough?

Irritative coughs can be brought on by a variety of factors. Common triggers include:

  • Allergies
  • Cold Air
  • Chain Smoking
  • Smoke, Irritants, and Pollutants from the Air
  • Exercise
  • GERD (Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease)
  • Asthma
  • Bronchitis
  • Emphysema

How is an Irritative Cough Treated?

Treating an irritative cough typically starts with self-care measures and medications. Self-care measures include avoiding irritants like smokers, pet hair, and allergens, and using a humidifier to keep the air moist. For more severe cases, medications—such as cough suppressants, antihistamines, corticosteroids, or bronchodilators—may be prescribed. In rare cases, surgery may be required to remove inflamed, damaged, or swollen tissue.

When Should You See Your Doctor?

It is best to seek medical attention if you experience an irritative cough with shortness of breath, wheezing, recurrent fever, chest pain, a persistent cough that lingers for more than two weeks, or if you have a weakened immune system. It is also important to keep an eye out for signs of an infection—such as a cold, bronchitis, or the flu—and to seek medical attention if these signs appear.