Having an occasional cough, such as when you have a cold, is considered normal. When you have a chronic cough, though, it’s important to find out what is causing it, as it helps ensure that you get the treatment you need.
Symptoms of a Chronic Cough
A chronic cough lasts for at least eight weeks, when you’re an adult. In children, a chronic cough lasts at least four weeks. The main symptom of this problem is frequent coughing. A severe chronic cough can put you at risk of fracturing a rib or becoming dizzy at times. You can also vomit from severe coughing fits. You might have other symptoms along with coughing when you have a chronic cough, depending on the underlying cause. Including:
- Nasal congestion or a runny nose
- Sore throat
- A need to clear your throat often
- Postnasal drip
- Hoarse voice
- Breathing problems (shortness of breath)
Causes of a Chronic Cough
There are many conditions that can cause you to have a chronic cough. Some of these conditions are mild & manageable, while others are serious health problems that require medical care. Some of the milder causes of a chronic cough include:
This is among the most common cause of a chronic cough. It occurs when you have too much mucus, which slides down your throat.
Upper Respiratory Infections
Whooping cough, or pertussis, and other infections, such as colds and pneumonia, can cause a lingering cough that lasts for weeks.
Asthma & Allergies
These conditions can cause a chronic cough to flare up at certain times, especially if you have seasonal allergies.
This chronic inflammatory condition can cause you to cough up sputum. Your risk of this is higher if you are/were a smoker.
Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease
Also known as GERD, occurs when acid from your stomach goes back up into your esophagus.
Blood pressure medications can cause you to develop a chronic cough.
More serious causes of a chronic cough are not as common. However, those who have one or more of these conditions need to get medical care. Some of the more serious causes include lung cancer and heart disease.
Treatment for a Chronic Cough
Your treatment options for a chronic cough depend on what is causing it. For example, you might need to switch to a different blood pressure medication or you might need to manage allergies with antihistamines. If you have an infection, you might need to take antibiotics if it’s caused by bacteria, such as bacterial pneumonia. For GERD, your doctor might recommend making changes to your diet or taking acid blockers. If you have a more serious illness causing a chronic cough, your doctor can discuss treatment options with you.
There are a few things you can do to help relieve a chronic cough. These include using cough drops, drinking plenty of warm liquids, and using a humidifier to add moisture to the air in your home. Staying away from cigarette smoke as much as possible can also help.
If you need treatment for a chronic cough, please contact MXBowen, Physician, P.C. to set up an appointment.