As any doctor will tell you, there are coughs–and then there are coughs! All coughs, though, are a response by your body to rid itself of something that wants to get out. This could be infected mucus in your lungs or the piece of popcorn that “went down the wrong tube.” Basically this means you don’t always want to interfere with the process. You feel the first type of cough, called bronchitic, deep in your chest. For these coughs, you need an expectorant to help the lungs bring up phlegm, to be “productive,” as doctors say.
Most people have had a brush with bronchitis–an inflammation of the bronchi or the breathing tubes–at some time in their lives. And 7 million people, virtually all of them smokers, experience the symptoms of bronchitis every single day for years. Bronchitis comes in two versions. Acute bronchitis occurs when an infection, usually a virus or bacteria, inflames the bronchial tubes. It produces a raw, hacking, painful cough that can sometimes be relieved with self-care measures but often requires antibiotics.