Coughing is the body’s normal reflexive response to various irritants or secretions. In healthy individuals, the cough helps to clear and protect the airways. However, when it becomes persistent, productive, or is associated with other bothersome symptoms, it may indicate a more significant condition.
Many people experience a cough as part of the “flu” or upper respiratory tract infection, such as a cold or sinusitis. However, if your cough is worsening, productive of phlegm and accompanied by fevers, you may actually have a lower respiratory tract infection, such as pneumonia. This requires prompt antibiotic treatment and close follow up.
Infections are by no means the only cause of a persistent cough. Allergies, asthma, post-nasal drip, certain cardiovascular diseases, chronic lung conditions, medications (ACE inhibitors), and even heartburn (GERD) can lead to a disruptive cough.
If you have a cold, try a cool mist humidifier or over-the-counter cold medications to ease symptoms and alleviate congestion. An air purifier may be of benefit if you suffer from allergies or asthma, and certain dietary modifications can help reduce reflux symptoms. Most other conditions, however, require a more thorough evaluation and tailored treatment plan.
If you are suffering from a persistent cough, please visit one of our offices to discuss your symptoms and treatment options today!