A chronic cough or a cough that has kept lingering on despite taking the proper cough and cold medicine for it can be an indicator of a far more serious condition. Coughs are considered chronic if they last longer than eight weeks for adults or for weeks for children.
Your body reacts by coughing when you fall ill or your lungs get irritated. Coughing is a part of the defense mechanism of your body to expel any allergens, pollutants, or mucus so that you do not end up breathing any of it in. Normally, a cough is nothing to be worried about. It tends to clear up on its own within two or three weeks when it a cough is a symptom of a cold.
Even after a long recovery time, however, coughs can stubbornly refuse to improve and can continue to progress. There are a lot of reasons why a cough might not improve, and it can be frustrating or both the patient and their doctor alike. Here are four reasons why your cough is not going away soon.
Your airways are irritated after a cold or flu
Predictably enough, the most common cause of a cough that won’t just seem to go away is that it’s the aftermath of a viral infection like a cold or flu. While most symptoms of a cold or flu can go away after a few days, your cough can hang around even weeks after contracting the sickness.
According to experts, your cough can linger on because the viruses from your cold or flu can cause your airway to become over sensitive and swollen. This can last long after you have taken your medicine for cough and cold and after the virus is gone.
Other underlying health problems
The common causes of a cough that won’t go away include asthma and allergies. In fact, some people even learn that they have asthma while they suffer from a cold because it can trigger an asthma attack!
Obstructive sleep apnea and acid reflux can also be a cause of a chronic cough. Fortunately, most of these conditions can often be treated if you see your doctor for a diagnosis and possible treatment options.
Coughs and colds can actually last longer if you are constantly stressed out. Slow down, relax, take a breather, and ease your stress while you are ill. People who are constantly working hard without getting enough bed rest tend to have longer recovery time from illness.
Do not push yourself too hard because that might just make your sickness worse. Try and aim to get at least seven to eight hours of sleep every night. As much as possible, leave all responsibilities after work hours and give your body enough time to relax. You must know how to balance your job and wellness.
Not enough fluids
You need to drink a lot of water and replenish your fluids when you have a cough or cold. Along with getting the recommended amount of water every day, drinking fruit juices that are high in Vitamin C or warm soup can help loosen the mucus in your airways so you can cough it up and out.
Caffeinated and alcoholic drinks are not going to be helpful when you have a persistent cough because they can do the opposite of what you need when you are sick, which is to dehydrate you. You can even use a humidifier or a nasal spray as additional ways to get moisture into your airways.
It can be very uncomfortable to have a cough that won’t just seem to go away. If your cough lasts for more than eight weeks, you should consider consulting with your doctor because you might require a prescription treatment or further evaluation. There are a lot of resources online but it is still best to talk with a doctor rather than self-diagnosing and self-medicating.
Your doctor needs to address some symptoms of coughs such as wheezing, shortness of breath, or bloody mucus. Always opt to seek medical care if some of the symptoms of your cough are interfering with your sleep or interrupting your daily activities. It is important to be preventive in health as coughs is just one symptom of many health issues.