A cough can travel as fast as 80 km/h and release around 3000 droplets in just one go62. At this speed, it goes faster than the Dubai metro!63 In this section you will find interesting myths and facts about coughing.

Fact or Fiction?

Test your knowledge with the following cough and cold myths and facts!

All coughs are contagious

This is a myth. When the cough is caused by a lung infection such as the common cold or an influenza virus, the spread of infection is possible. However, if the cough is caused by asthma, chronic pulmonary disorders, or allergies, it is not contagious.64

Antibiotics will cure my cold

Myth! Studies have shown that antibiotics cannot treat a cold. However, antibiotics can be prescribed when the cough is caused by bacterial infections like pneumonia.1,6,64


Adolescents who are exposed to tobacco are more likely to report dry cough

Fact! A study from the UAE has shown that adolescents who are exposed to tobacco at home or with friends are more likely to report diagnosed asthma, wheezing and dry cough.65

Vaccinations can prevent cough

Not totally true. According to the CDC, vaccines can prevent pertussis or whooping cough.66 As coughing is one of the main symptoms of the flu and the common cold,41 the yearly flu shot can protect against seasonal influenza.67 However, vaccination will not protect you against the common cold.68

Cold weather causes cough

This is a fact! Cold air is often dry which can irritate the airways of people with chronic lung disease, like asthma, COPD, or bronchitis. This can cause wheezing, coughing, and shortness of breath. Moreover, with cold weather comes cold and flu season.69

Drinking milk increases phlegm in children

This is a myth! The texture of milk can make some people feel that their mucus is thicker and their saliva harder to swallow. However, there is no evidence that milk leads to an increase in mucus production.

Milk is an important source of calcium and vitamins for children.70


Hot drink provides relief for most symptoms of common cold and flu.

This is a fact. A study has shown that a hot drink provided immediate and sustained relief from symptoms of runny nose, cough, sneezing, sore throat, chilliness and tiredness.71

Mouth breathing increases the risks of infection

Mouth breathing results in the mouth becoming dry. This increases the risk of mouth and throat infections.

It also results in pollutants and germs being drawn directly into the lungs. However, breathing through the nose will warm, humidify, and cleanse/filter air to prepare it for delivery to the lungs.72