Causes Of Wet Cough
A wet cough is a cough marked by the expulsion of sputum, as opposed to a dry cough which often is a response to an irritation in the throat. A wet cough can in many instances be a good sign, in that the respiratory system is in the process of being cleared of phlegm, mucus, and other matter. Such a cough can be a bad sign as well, depending upon the nature of the disease or infection associated with the cough.
The causes of wet cough are many. Several of the more common causes, and a few less common causes are discussed here. Sometimes other symptoms, such as those accompanying a cold or the flu make the cause of the wet cough obvious. At other times the cause is not obvious and an exam and diagnosis may be called for.
Colds, Flu, and Bronchitis - Any type of infection in the upper respiratory tract is very likely to cause a wet cough. Colds and the flu are the two most obvious instances where infections in the respiratory system are present. Colds are generally not harmful unless the person affected is in poor physical condition or has other respiratory problems. Another common cause is chronic bronchitis. Inflammation of the airways in the lungs is the cause here, which can be triggered by any number of things ranging from cold and damp weather to the presence of pollen in the air. Bronchitis can at times become acute and require immediate medical attention. Whereas chronic bronchitis may cause occasional coughing spells that normally do not last long, acute bronchitis can bring with it severe wet cough, where in extreme cases blood may be coughed up with the sputum.
Pneumonia - Pneumonia and a wet cough go hand in hand. Initially the wet cough is a sign that something is not right. The presence of a high fever and other symptoms may signal the presence of an infection in the lung, resulting in an excess of fluids in the lung, in other words pneumonia. In the latter stages of pneumonia, especially after the fever has been brought down, a wet cough is often encouraged as the coughing has the function of bringing up fluids from the lungs. These fluids are often colored due to the infection and a patient's sputum may be monitored to see when it begins to become clear, a sign that infections matter has been removed.
Infections Form External Sources - Other lung infections such as an abscess in the lung can cause a wet cough though somewhat indirectly. The infection often brings about pneumonia which in turn causes bouts of coughing. Some lung diseases and infections are brought about by breathing in harmful elements such as coal dust. Wearing masks in such an environment is a good preventive measure. If one is removed from the offending environment the cough usually disappears in time. Air pollution can also cause a cough, but unless a significant amount of matter makes its way into the lungs, the cough is apt to be dry due to throat irritation, than wet.
A Heart-Lung Problem May Be At The Source - Conditions of wet cough which are often of a more serious nature involve the cardiopulmonary system as a whole. There are a number of different situations whereby blood can be introduced into the lung. If the amount becomes excessive, the condition can become very serious as similar to pneumonia, excess fluid in the lung can become life-threatening. Disorders of the pulmonary artery or its associated blood vessels can also be the cause behind a wet cough.
Cancer Is A Possibility - Though fortunately much less common, a cancer, either in the lung or in the upper respiratory system can bring about a wet cough. A non-malignant tumor can as well. Though such instances are fortunately rather rare, it is always a good practice to have a physician look into any instance where a wet cough becomes persistent or worsens with time. It is after all a symptom that something is not as it should be, even though that something more often than not is minor in nature. The wet cough is not a natural physical action however, but a signal worth paying heed to.