Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD)
If you have COPD, which is common in smokers, you may get symptoms that include wet cough because your body is trying to remove some mucus. However, it could be a sign that you have a respiratory infection depending on your symptoms.
For infants and children, viral infections and asthma are the typical causes of wet coughs. Children can also get whooping cough, which has symptoms that are similar to a common cold. Since it can create severe coughing fits, a child can make a whooping noise when they inhale.
Children and infants can also get pneumonia, which can be dangerous.
Additionally, environmental and foreign irritants, such as cigarette smoke, can irritate a child’s lungs and cause a wet cough.
How to Diagnose a Wet Cough
The only way you can know exactly why you have a wet cough is to consult a doctor. You will have to tell your doctor how severe your symptoms are and explain how long you have had it.
A physical exam can be used to diagnose most coughs. However, you may need additional tests, such as bloodwork and chest x-rays, if you have other symptoms, a severe cough, or a prolonged cough.
How to Treat a Wet Cough
Once you know what caused your wet cough, you can move onto treatment. A lot of people do not need treatment if they get a wet cough from a common virus like the flu or a cold.
You can usually wait out a wet cough from a virus and it should go away by itself. However, if the cause was bacterial, a person may need antibiotics to kill the bacteria.
Although there are people who want to reduce their coughing symptoms, many children and adults may find it hard to sleep if they wake up from coughing fits in the middle of the night.
You should be aware that children 4 years old and under should not take over-the-counter cold and cough medication.
Chronic Cough: What You Need to Know