- By sahlhealth
- May 18, 2021
- 47 views
A chronic cough is a cough that lasts eight weeks or longer in adults, or four weeks in children.
A chronic cough is more than just an annoyance. A chronic cough can interrupt your sleep and leave you feeling exhausted. Severe cases of chronic cough can cause vomiting, lightheadedness and even rib fractures.
While it can sometimes be difficult to pinpoint the problem that's triggering a chronic cough, the most common causes are tobacco use, postnasal drip, asthma and acid reflux. Fortunately, chronic cough typically disappears once the underlying problem is treated.
A chronic cough can occur with other signs and symptoms, which may include:
A runny or stuffy nose
A feeling of liquid running down the back of your throat (postnasal drip)
Frequent throat clearing and sore throat
Wheezing and shortness of breath
Heartburn or a sour taste in your mouth
In rare cases, coughing up blood
When to see a doctor
See your doctor if you have a cough that lingers for weeks, especially one that brings up sputum or blood, disturbs your sleep, or affects school or work.
Determining the cause of chronic cough is crucial to effective treatment. In many cases, more than one underlying condition may be causing your chronic cough.
If you're taking an ACE inhibitor medication, your doctor may switch you to another medicine that doesn't have a cough as a side effect.
Medications used to treat chronic cough may include:
Antihistamines, glucocorticoids and decongestants. These drugs are standard treatment for allergies and postnasal drip.
Inhaled asthma drugs. The most effective treatments for asthma-related cough are glucocorticoids and bronchodilators, which reduce inflammation and open up your airways.
Antibiotics. If a bacterial infection is causing your chronic cough, your doctor may prescribe antibiotics.
Acid blockers. When lifestyle changes don't take care of acid reflux, you may be treated with medications that block acid production. Some people need surgery to resolve the problem.
Cough suppressants. If the reason for your cough can't be determined and it's causing serious problems for you, such as keeping you from sleeping, your doctor may prescribe a cough suppressant. However, there's no evidence that over-the-counter cough medicines are effective.
You should never give children under 4 years of age over-the-counter cough and cold products without checking with your child's doctor. These medicines may harm young children.