Coughs can be very confusing but what you might not know is they can be divided into just two types: dry coughs, felt in the throat, and chesty coughs, felt in the lungs. It is not always easy to distinguish a dry cough from a chesty cough and it becomes even more difficult if your cough changes over time.

Dry coughs are caused by an irritation of the upper airways due to foreign particles, dust or a throat infection. This type of cough is non-productive: no mucus or phlegm is produced. A dry cough is also synonymous with a tickly, or irritating cough.

Chesty coughs are characterised by the formation of mucus or phlegm in the lungs, and are classified as a productive cough. The cough reflex is triggered to help raise the phlegm, in order to clear the lungs. A chesty cough is also known as a mucus or phlegm cough.