Why does coughing hard hurt your throat so much if it’s just air coming out?

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Why does coughing hard hurt your throat so much if it’s just air coming out?

In: Biology
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A cough involves forceful opening and closing of the glottis (the space between the vocal folds). Slamming the vocal folds together is what causes the majority of the trauma. Same reason that screaming causes damage even though that’s also just air. Also the air in a cough can be moving up to 100mph. Air can still cause friction.

Your throat contains some delicate structures, like your vocal cords, which allow you to talk and sing. Coughing sends air through these structures much faster and in larger volume than they can handle. This stresses, or even tears, them => soreness.

More or less by definition, if you’re coughing, it’s not just air coming out – coughing is your body attempting to get rid of something that shouldn’t be in your lungs. In practice, it’s often phlegm or water that you just forgot how to drink, and it’s in the part of your throat (the windpipe or trachea) that isn’t supposed to have anything but air in it. So, not only do you have the irritation of the foreign substance being in a place where your body really doesn’t want it, you are also forcefully pushing it back up the pipe, so those nerves are really not happy about it.