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Wet (productive) cough

A wet cough is a type of cough where excess phlegm or mucus is produced from your respiratory tract.1 This means that when you cough, you will bring sticky fluid (mucus) up into your mouth.1,2 Because of the phlegm or mucus that comes with this type of cough, we call it a productive cough.1


Wet coughs are often caused by the common cold or flu.2 The cough sounds “wet” because your body is pushing the excess mucus (fluid) out of your nose, throat and lungs.2


Colds and flu often cause congestion (a blocked feeling) in your airways, because of the extra mucus or phlegm that builds up.3 That’s why when you have a wet cough you’ll usually have other symptoms like a runny or snotty nose.2,3 You may also feel a “dripping” sensation at the back of your throat (known as post-nasal drip).2


Find out more about colds and flu, coughs and congestion.

Dry (non-productive) cough

A dry cough is a type of cough where little or no mucus is produced from your respiratory tract.1 It’s also known as a non-productive cough.1


With a dry cough, you won’t bring up mucus into your mouth, but you will usually feel itching, scratching or tickling sensations in your throat, which can trigger coughing fits.1,2,4


Dry coughs often happen because of inflammation or irritation in your respiratory tract.2 This can be caused by an upper respiratory infection (like a cold or flu virus), or by breathing in irritants like dust and smoke.2 Other possible causes of a dry cough include sinusitis, tonsilitis, allergies and asthma.2

  1. 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.
  2. Types of coughs. Healthline. April 23, 2020. Accessed September 29, 2021.
  3. Medical definition of congestion. MedicineNet. Accessed August 4, 2021.
  4. Dicpinigaitis PV, Colice GL, Goolsby MJ, et al. Acute cough: a diagnostic and therapeutic challenge. Cough. 2009;5:11.
Sidebar references
  1. Sandoz SA (Pty) Ltd. ACC® 600 (effervescent tablets). Professional information. 02 November 2021.
  2. Sandoz SA (Pty) Ltd. ACC® 20 mg/ml Oral Solution. Professional information. 05 October 2021.
  3. Sandoz SA (Pty) Ltd. ACC® 200 (effervescent tablets). Professional information. 08 July 2020.


ACC® 600
[S1] ACC® 600 (effervescent tablets). Reg. No.: 45/10.3/0229. Composition: Each effervescent tablet contains 600 mg acetylcysteine. ATC Code: R05CB01.
ACC® Oral Solution
[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: R05CB01.
ACC® 200
[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.
For full prescribing information refer to the Sandoz Professional Information approved by the South African Health Products Regulatory Authority (SAHPRA).

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