Coughing is one of the telltale signs of asthma. It can be one of the most persistent factors of asthma if left untreated.

Coughing, especially in asthma patients, can be helpful because it’s one of the body’s natural defense mechanism. A productive asthma cough can expel phlegm and mucus from the lungs. That kind of cough can prevent infection and other problems.

However, an asthma cough is often “nonproductive.” In other words it is a dry cough—a response to an irritant that forces the bronchial tubes to spasm. Asthma patients should be weary of certain situations where there will be more irritants (or asthma triggers) that worsen their asthma cough: pet dander, viral infections, cold air, most dust and other things.

With asthma, a cough can be troublesome, especially at nighttime. It makes getting restful sleep difficult and sometimes requires special treatment. Night coughs are most often related to asthma or other breathing problems.

There are many treatments for asthma coughs, including inhalers, deep breathing techniques, over-the-counter medications, and homeopathic medicine.

Cough-variant asthma is a type of asthma that doesn’t often have other traditional asthma symptoms such as chest-tightening and shortness of breath. Cough-variant asthma, or CVA, is characterized by a nonproductive, dry cough that lasts longer than six weeks.