Chronic coughs can be debilitating. Not only does it do a number on your throat, but constant coughing can even cause your ribs and stomach muscles to begin to hurt. It makes it hard to concentrate in school or at work and can even cause distractions for other people. It’s important to understand the symptoms and how to treat the problem if you are coughing a lot.
Cough Lasting 8 Weeks or Longer
In addition to the obvious sign of coughing a lot, there are other symptoms to look for that could mean a chronic coughing problem. You might have a runny or stuffy nose, feel like there is liquid in the back of your throat, or have to clear your throat a lot. Your voice may be hoarse or sore, or you may feel as if you are short of breath. Other symptoms include heartburn and in rare cases, coughing up blood. The cough can last for weeks or even months if left untreated.
Causes of Chronic Coughs
There are a number of reasons that a person might develop a chronic cough.
- Asthma – Asthma-related coughs may develop during allergy seasons and may be worse during cold months that trigger the cough reflex.
- Blood Pressure Medication – Some blood pressure medications have a side effect of chronic coughing.
- COPD – A chronic inflammatory lung disease, COPD leads to chronic bronchitis and emphysema, both of which cause coughing.
- GERD – If you have problems with your stomach acid flowing back into your esophagus, you may develop a constant throat irritation that presents itself as a cough.
- Infections – If you’ve had pneumonia or the flu, the cough could last for weeks or months even after other symptoms are gone. Pertussis is also a common cause of lingering coughs.
- Postnasal Drip – If your sinuses produce extra mucus, it can drip into your throat and cause you to cough.
Lifestyle & Home Remedies
The cause of your cough will depend on whether you need cough pills or something stronger. There are things that you can do at home to take care of your chronic cough, especially if its cause is environmental factors. Air purifiers can get rid of dush or other debris in the air that causes coughing. Quitting smoking or vaping is another lifestyle change that you can make. If your cough is not caused by an environmental factor, over-the-counter medications are another option that may help you to ease the problem.
When To See a Doctor
Sometimes, flu medication over the counter is simply not enough. If over-the-counter medications and changing your lifestyle aren’t enough to curb your chronic cough, it is important to see a doctor. He or she can perform tests to look for the underlying cause of your chronic cough and help you find a way to ease the symptoms.
A chronic cough doesn’t need to interrupt your daily life. Understanding the cause and making the necessary changes, plus seeing a doctor if necessary, will help you to curb your cough and get your life back on track.