To begin with, coughing is actually a defense mechanism mainly against airborne particles. When people cough, the jet of air ejects foreign particles from blocking the air passageways. Such causes include: smoke, dust, clogged food in the throat, or air pollution.
Coughs can also be caused by getting colds. During a cold, the mucus from the nostrils drip into the airway thus enabling the cough reflex.
Some common causes of coughs include: smoking, bacterial infections, and viral infections. Smoking eradicates the cells in the airway thus hindering the regular ejection of mucus. Viral infections cannot be treated with antibiotics. Coughing yellow or white mucus is a symptom of a viral infection. Bacterial infections usually produce green mucus and they can be treated with prescribed antibiotics.
Young children who experience coughing are developing early signs of lung problems that must be treated as soon as possible. They will at times mistakenly swallow small objects and get it stuck in their windpipe, which causes severe coughing. The heimlich maneuver is very effective in expelling the object out of their system.