A cough can be immediately categorised as being productive or unproductive. What kind of cough is usually the first question your GP will ask if you seek them out with a cough complaint. An unproductive cough doesn’t produce mucus or phlegm. These are sometimes called dry coughs. A productive cough on the other hand will produce excess mucus or phlegm. Such coughs usually refer to as chesty or deep coughs.
A dry or tickling cough can be a response from environmental irritants such as dust, or dry atmosphere. Whereas a cough heavily laden with mucus of phlegm can be the beginning or first physical showing of a true medical problem, but not always.
Deep, chesty or mucus coughs are usually the result of a build-up of phlegm directly in the lungs, and are hard to get rid of by just trying to cough up this mucus unaided. Cough syrups and pills designed for this type of cough contain expectorants to break up the phlegm, making it easier to expel upon coughing.
Trying to bring up this type of thick fluid without the aid of specific medicines can lead to other damage that could include burst blood vessels in the eyes and nose. Excessive coughing of any kind, especially a cough that doesn’t respond to cough syrups available from your pharmacist should be looked at by your general practitioner.