Why do we cough?

If you have a high temperature, a new continuous cough or a loss of your sense of smell or taste, it could be coronavirus. Please follow the advice on coronavirus at

A cold is a mild viral infection of the nose, throat, sinuses and upper airways. It's very common, which is why it’s often called ‘the common cold’.


Symptoms of a cough include:

  • A ‘dry cough’ which is tickly and doesn't produce any phlegm
  • A ‘chesty cough’ which is when phlegm is produced

Most coughs are caused by a cold or flu, but other causes could include smoking, heartburn, allergies such as hay fever or infections like bronchitis. A cough is very rarely a sign of something serious.


A cough is the body’s action to clear the airways of mucus and irritants such as dust. It's rarely a sign of anything serious.

Most coughs clear up within three weeks. You should rest and drink plenty of fluids.

You can speak to your local Rightdose pharmacist for health advice or watch our Ask a Pharmacist video on how to protect yourself from cold and flu.

 At Rightdose, you can make online purchases for the following products for dry and tickly coughs and have them delivered to your home:

  • Cough syrup
  • Cough medicine
  • Cough sweets

These will not stop your cough, but can help relieve your symptoms.

For persistent coughs, you should contact your GP.