A chronic cough is a cough that lasts eight weeks or longer in adults or four weeks or longer in children. It can get in the way of enjoying your life fully and may be indicative of an underlying health problem.
Let’s examine a few common causes of a chronic cough, as well as potential treatment options.
Five Conditions That Can Cause Chronic Coughing
- Asthma. An asthma-related cough can worsen depending on the season. It may also become worse right after having an upper respiratory infection or being exposed to cold air or certain fragrances. Additionally, there is a specific type of asthma called cough-variant asthma where coughing is the primary symptom.
- Postnasal drip. This is when mucus drips down the back of your throat and causes irritation, which leads to coughing. This may be caused by allergies or other similar conditions.
- Chronic bronchitis. This is a long-term inflammation of the airways and is often caused by cigarette smoking
- Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD). GERD occurs when stomach acid flows up into your esophagus. This causes irritation and leads to coughing.
- Many times, a chronic cough can be a lingering effect of an infection, even after all other symptoms have gone away. These infections can include pneumonia, the flu, common cold and other upper respiratory infections.
Chronic Cough Complications
A chronic cough can disrupt your daily life. It can interfere with sleep, making it difficult to concentrate at work or have the energy to meet friends for a walk at Four Mills Nature Reserve. You may also experience:
- Daytime fatigue
- Wheezing or shortness of breath
Treatment Options for Chronic Cough
If you’ve had a cough for several months and it won’t go away, make an appointment with your medical provider. Make sure to write down any information that would be helpful during the appointment, such as when the cough started and what, if any, other symptoms you are experiencing.
Treatment will largely depend on what is causing your cough. Options may include:
- Allergy medication
- Medication for acid reflux
- Inhalers or bronchodilators
- Antibiotics for any bacterial infection
- Quitting smoking
- Drinking more fluids
- Using a humidifier
If you have been dealing with a chronic cough and would like to speak to a specialist or schedule an appointment, call Pinnacle ENT today.