Cough Reflex & Itch are first-cousins that behave similarly. Let’s break this family tree down. If you first see a red patch on your arm, then your brain tells you to scratch it. If you feel a Tickle in throat, then your brain tell you to scratch it by Coughing. These two actions of first seeing or feeling and then scratching happen quickly and closely to each other. The Cough Reflex that produces Chronic Cough is much the same as the Itch and Scratch response.
When the nerve endings at the back of your throat are super-sensitive (hypersensitive) either because you recently had a cold or virus or because you are “hard-wired” that way, then you feel a TICKLE in throat. When you feel a TICKLE, your brain tells you to Cough in order to scratch the THROAT TICKLE. So, if you are aware of the TICKLE and URGE TO COUGH, then you can relieve the Cough.
Some reflexes are vitally important to our health and safety. For example, if you accidentally place a hand on a hot stove you automatically feel the burn and withdraw your hand. Now think about how different your two hands will feel when you lightly blow on the skin.
When you blow on the hand that was not burned, it will probably feel nice. But when you blow on the hand that was burned, it will probably feel stinging and sensitive. This increased sensitivity is how the nerve endings in the back of your throat feel after they have been triggered by a cold, virus, or other irritant. TICKLE in throat and Cough are the body’s response to this sensitivity.