Everybody coughs. In addition to being a normal bodily function, coughing actually serves a useful purpose for our bodies. Coughing helps clear mucus and other foreign material that can irritate the lungs from our airways. Most coughs are associated with short-term illnesses like a cold or the flu and typically don’t hang around too long. However, coughs that linger over time can be a sign of something more serious.
A chronic cough is a cough that lasts eight weeks or longer. Chronic coughing can have a big impact on your life and wellbeing. In addition to keeping you up at night, a chronic cough can lead to other uncomfortable symptoms like hoarseness, sore throat, breathing issues, and heartburn. There are several things that may be causing your chronic cough. The experienced healthcare providers at Family Practice Center have outlined a few of the more common causes below.
Over-the-counter decongestant sprays can exacerbate your symptoms if you use them for too long. This can lead to excess congestion that can drip back down the throat, leading to chronic coughing.
After a flu or cold, it’s normal for your airways to be a bit clogged up and irritated. This is the most common cause of persistent, chronic coughing. Although most symptoms will typically go away after about a week, your cough can hang around for multiple weeks. This is due to our airways becoming swollen and oversensitive in the wake of sickness.
Sometimes after a cold when your airways are raw and irritated, you can be more vulnerable to infections like sinus infections, bronchitis, and pneumonia. A good way to know if you are experiencing a bacterial infection is if you have a fever or pain in addition to your chronic coughing. Our healthcare providers can evaluate your symptoms to determine if a bacterial infection is causing your chronic coughing.
Some Blood Pressure Medications
Medications for high blood pressure called ACE inhibitors can also cause a chronic cough. A chronic, dry cough is a very common side effect for many of these medications. If you are taking one of these medications and notice that your cough won’t go away, we recommend speaking to your healthcare provider about potential alternatives.
Since a chronic cough can be a sign of more serious health conditions that should not be ignored, we recommend visiting one of our healthcare providers if you experience a cough that won’t go away. During your appointment, we will work with you to determine the root cause of your coughing and find the best-possible treatment plan for your needs. For more information or to schedule your appointment today, please contact Family Practice Center. You can follow us on Facebook and Twitter for additional health tips, news, photos, and more.