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A cough was a mechanism for expelling foreign substances from one's throat and lungs.

In 1893, Data cautioned a coughing bellboy about cholera. (TNG: "Time's Arrow")

In 2154, a silicon-based virus caused Trip Tucker and Hoshi Sato to have a coughing fit. Later, Doctor Phlox gave them a cough suppressant. (ENT: "Observer Effect")

In 2370, Geordi La Forge coughed as a psychosomatic response to seeing gases inside a ship he was exploring remotely. (TNG: "Interface")

That same year, Dr. Julian Bashir told Miles O'Brien to cough as part of a physical. (DS9: "Whispers")

In 2371, Leeta faked a cough in order to see Bashir. He "prescribed" a Fanalian toddy for her, then ordered one for himself, saying he was also feeling a cough coming on. (DS9: "Explorers")

Coughing could also be a way of announcing one's presence. In 2366, William T. Riker coughed to interrupt La Forge and Christy Henshaw's romantic interlude in the turbolift. (TNG: "Transfigurations")

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