Question for the Etiquette Board / AARP

Can someone explain to me why it is that as some men age, they get more and more phlegmy, to the point of clearing their throats every minute, and hacking up part of a lung (to put it nicely, because it really sounds much more gross than that) every 5?

And at what point does it become unnecessarily to cover one’s mouth when coughing?  Even if you’re not “sick,” per se (so you’re not spreading sick germs, just… regular germs)?

My thought on the latter matter is that it’s always polite to cover one’s mouth when coughing (this is from the girl whose mother still lives in her head and forces her to say “excuse me” whenever I sneeze in a public place), and always impolite to audibly make any sort of phlegm noise without some sort of acknowledgement that what you’re doing might totally be grossing out those around you.

But apparently, as men age (specifically after they turn about 60), they seem to think that it’s completely unnecessary to continue on with these politenesses. I say “men” because I have never once experienced a woman doing the same thing, or even anything similar. The closest might be passing gas, but everyone does that. I cannot honestly think of something that older women do that grosses me out nearly as much as the hacking phlegm thing.

What is with that? Is there a doctor in the house?

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