Chronic cough usually lasts for 8 weeks or longer. It can be caused by an underlying health condition such as heartburn or allergies and eventually settles after the condition is treated.
When to consult a doctor?
The following are indications that it is time to set an appointment with a doctor:
- Coughing up phlegm
- Individual starts to lose weight
- High temperature or fever of 101 degrees F or higher
- Coughing up blood
- Drenching sweats at night time
Possible causes of chronic cough
- Allergies – postnasal drip triggered by allergies can cause coughing.
- Asthma – coughing might be an indication of asthma.
- Medications – some medications such as ACE inhibitors
- Heartburn – acid from the stomach backs up into the throat
- Among those who smoke, it is time to stop. A doctor should be consulted regarding a nicotine replacement, prescription medication or an alternative method to help stop smoking.
- Allergies that trigger postnasal drip resulting to coughing can be prevented by avoiding potential allergens such as smoke, dust, animal dander, pollen, mold, chemical fumes and cleaning agents. An over-the-counter medication can be given to alleviate the symptoms including the cough.
- Among those who use medications that causes coughing, the doctor might prescribe another medication. The individual should not stop using the prescribed medication unless instructed by the doctor.
- If an individual has asthma, the doctor will help decide on the suitable treatment for the symptoms.
- When it comes to acid reflux, it can be managed by elevating the head of the bed about 4 inches. It is also recommended to avoid eating or drinking a few hours before lying down. A doctor should be consulted regarding over-the-counter or prescription medications that can relieve the symptoms of acid reflux or neutralize the stomach acid.