What causes a cough?
Common causes of acute cough lasting do not last for more than two months:
- Upper respiratory tract infections: Contagions of the nose and throat are the most common causes of coughing associated with illness. They are usually related to fevers, sore throat, and runny nose. They are mostly caused by viruses and include the common cold, viral, and influenza.
- Hay fever: A common allergic condition that indicates a common cold. It is usually related to dry cough, sneezing, and runny nose.
- Breathing of irritants: Inhalation of fumes and vapors can cause inflammation of the throat and airway, causing a cough.
- Lower respiratory tract infections: These are a few more severe viral and bacterial infections that usually cause a deep, persistent cough and fever. They can affect the airways or go further into the lungs, causing pneumonia.
- Heart failure: A weak or unhealthy heart can cause a buildup of fluid in the lungs, inducing cough, and the deteriorating of breath.
- Post-nasal drip: The symptoms include a dry cough caused by the chronic dripping of mucus from the back of the nose to the throat. Usually, this occurs after a recent infection or continuous exposure to an allergy trigger.
- Gastroesophageal reflux (GERD): This digestive disorder occurs when stomach acid frequently backs up into the esophagus, causing heartburn. When the acid rises into the throat, it can also cause a dry cough.
Risk factors and complications of cough?
A chronic cough needs medical supervision. If a person experiences any of the following symptoms and a chronic cough, they should seek emergency treatment immediately:
- a fever more than 103°F
- shortness of breath or difficulty catching their breath
- chest pain
- coughing up blood
If a chronic cough does not get better with time, it often requires further examination and treatment by a doctor. Other symptoms that may need medical supervision include:
- coughing up a lot of mucus
- unexplained weight loss
- appetite loss
- night sweats
How do you know you have a cough?
A cough is the result of something that irritates the airways, causing the muscles in the chest and stomach to contract. The exasperation also causes the glottis that covers the airways to open, causing air to rush out. The result is a cough.
A cough can be 'dry' or 'wet'. A dry cough does not produce mucus. People who smoke and those who take ACE inhibitors are more prone to have a dry cough. A wet cough is one that produces mucus.
Cough diagnosis and treatment
The doctor will begin by asking the person's symptoms before starting any treatment. The doctor will ask about the person's medical history, lifestyle habits, such as whether they smoke, allergies, or other issues. A doctor will also check a person's lungs using a stethoscope. Sometimes a doctor will recommend a few tests to help with a better diagnosis.
Tests may include:
- taking mucus sample and assessing it for the traces of blood or any cancerous cells
- imaging scans, such as X-rays or computed tomography scans, to see if there are any signs of lung disease or inflammation or a bronchoscopy.
Each of these tests will help a doctor identify the underlying causes of a chronic cough.
Treatments and cures for a chronic cough depend upon the primary cause. If a doctor is unable to determine the exact cause, he might decide to treat the most common factors for a chronic cough.
Post-nasal drip is one of them; a doctor may recommend the person take decongestants. These medicines can help to dry up secretions and reduce irritation that can lead to post-nasal drip. Decongestant or nasal steroid sprays may also help.
Other remedies include a person being able to control their GERD by making lifestyle changes and taking medications that reduce the effects of acid on the stomach. Few lifestyle changes include:
- eating small meals a day
- Avoid foods known to cause GERD, such as citrus fruits, caffeine high-fat foods, chocolate, tomato-based foods, or peppermint
- sleeping with the head of the bed raised to elevate the head.
Where to get treatment for cough online?
With our same-day cough treatment service, you can meet with a top online doctor, get diagnosed, and receive the treatment you need. Doctors can determine what's causing your cough and prescribe the appropriate treatment plan, including any necessary medications.
Ways to prevent cough
- Follow the treatment your doctor gives you for treating your cough. Also, try these tips to ease your cough:
- Drink fluids - Warm liquids, such as broth, tea, or juice, can soothe your throat.
- Cough drops - They may ease a dry cough and soothe an irritated throat.
- Consider taking honey- A teaspoon of honey may help loosen a cough. Don't give honey to children younger than one year old because honey can contain bacteria harmful to infants.
- Moisturize the air- Use a cool-mist humidifier or take a steamy shower.
- Avoid smoking- Smoke irritates your lungs and can worsen coughs caused by other factors. If you smoke, talk with your doctor to help you quit.