Cough vs. Non-Productive Cough | What is a Wet Cough?
Coughing is a defensive reflex that is used as a defense mechanism by the brain and body. Coughing helps to bring up mucus and bacteria from our lungs. Coughing can be caused by a number of sources, even medications. ACE inhibitors are a class of medications used to treat hypertension and kidney disease. Their main side effect is associated with a non-productive cough. Certain chronic disease states can exacerbate a productive cough (also known as wet cough) or non-productive cough such as chronic obstructive pulmonary disorder (COPD), asthma, gastro-esophageal reflux disease (GERD) and the common cold.
Coughs can be classified into different categories based on specific characteristics. Firstly, a cough can be classified based on duration. There are three categories that a cough can be grouped in based on duration and they are acute, sub acute and chronic. There are also types of cough based on symptoms of the cough and these are productive cough (wet cough) and non-productive cough.
A productive cough, otherwise known as wet cough, has specific symptoms. Wet cough is characteristic of coughing up mucus, or some type of “wetness” such as phlegm. On the other hand, a non-productive cough is characterized by coughing without bringing anything up.
There are medication treatment options available for both types of coughing. The gold standard to anti coughing medication is codeine. Codeine works to increase the cough threshold, tricking your brain into thinking that it does not need to send the reflex to cough. The onset of action for codeine is 15-30 minutes and it is not recommended to be used for people under the age of 2. Caution should be advised for patients taking codeine who have impaired respiratory function or have had a narcotic addiction in the past. Codeine comes in the form of liquid for easy swallowing or tablets.