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What is a cough?

A cough is a natural reflex that happens when your body needs to clear mucus or irritants out of your airways.1-3 Coughing now and then is normal, but sometimes a cough can be a symptom of an underlying problem, like an illness or allergy.1,2,4

What causes coughing?

Common causes of an acute cough (lasting less than 3 weeks):1-4

  • Common cold
  • Influenza (flu)
  • Acute sinusitis (sinus and nasal infection)
  • Inhaling irritants or allergens.

Common causes of a chronic cough (lasting longer than 8 weeks in adults or 4 weeks in children):4,5

  • Asthma                    
  • Chronic sinusitis (sinus and nasal infection)
  • Some types of allergies
  • Bronchitis.

Find out more about the symptoms of colds and flu.

Wet cough vs dry cough

Wet cough: A type of cough where phlegm or mucus is produced from the respiratory tract.2,6,7 It’s also known as a productive cough.2,6,7

Dry cough: A type of cough where little or no mucus is produced from the respiratory tract.2 A dry cough usually causes itching, scratching or tickling feelings in the throat.2,3 Because not much mucus or phlegm is produced, it’s also known as a non-productive cough.2

Learn more about the different types of cough.

  1. Cough. NHS Inform. Accessed September 29, 2021.
  2. Begic E, Begic Z, Dobraca A, et al. Productive cough in children and adolescents – view from primary health care system. Med Arch. 2017;71(1):66-68.
  3. Dicpinigaitis PV, Colice GL, Goolsby MJ, et al. Acute cough: a diagnostic and therapeutic challenge. Cough. 2009;5:11.
  4. Cough causes. Mayo Clinic. Accessed July 29, 2021.
  5. Evaluation of chronic cough. BMJ Best Practice. June 4, 2021. Accessed September 29, 2021.
  6. Murata A, Taniguchi Y, Hashimoto Y, et al. Discrimination of productive and non-productive cough by sound analysis. Intern Med. 1998;37(9):732-735.
  7. Chang AB, Gaffney JT, Eastburn MM, et al. Cough quality in children: a comparison of subjective vs. bronchoscopic findings. Respir Res. 2005;6(1):3.
Sidebar References
  1. Sandoz SA (Pty) Ltd. ACC® 600 Professional information. V1.0 (02/11/2021), approved 26 October 2021 (oral powder) and 02 November 2021 (effervescent tablets).
  2. Sandoz SA (Pty) Ltd. ACC® 20 mg/ml ORAL SOLUTION Professional information. V1 (07/10/2021), approved 05 October 2021.
  3. Sandoz SA (Pty) Ltd. ACC® 200 Professional information. V10 (16/08/2022), approved 08 July 2020.

[S1] ACC® 20 mg/ml Oral Solution. Reg. No.: 48/10.3/0261. Composition: Each 1 ml of ACC 20 mg/ml ORAL SOLUTION contains 20 mg acetylcysteine. ATC Code: R05C B01.

[S1] ACC® 200 (effervescent tablets). Reg. No.: 29/10.2.2/0753. Composition: Each ACC 200 effervescent tablet contains: 200 mg acetylcysteine. Pharmacological Classification: A10.3 Medicines acting on the respiratory system – other.

[S1] ACC® 600 (effervescent tablets). Reg. No.: 45/10.3/0229. Composition: Each effervescent tablet contains 600 mg acetylcysteine. [S1] ACC® 600 ORAL POWDER. Reg. No.: 51/10.3/0816. Composition: Each sachet contains 600 mg of acetylcysteine. ATC Code: R05CB01.

For full prescribing information refer to the Sandoz Professional Information approved by the South African Health Products Regulatory Authority (SAHPRA).

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