Better Me

What’s Causing My Chronic Cough?

A persistent cough can be more than just an annoyance, it can significantly impact your daily life. Understanding the reasons behind your chronic cough is the first step towards finding relief. 

Tara Carr, MD, an allergy and immunology expert at Banner Health noted various triggers for your cough and offered insight into effective treatments.

Why am I coughing?

There are several common causes of chronic coughing. They include:

  • Postnasal drip – This not-so-cute term refers to the steady flow of mucus that typically follows an infection or bad cold. This can also happen if you are going through a tough bout with seasonal allergies.
  • Asthma – You’re probably familiar with this condition, which is a disorder that makes it hard to breath during exercise or when exposed to an irritant.
  • Acid reflux or heartburn – When triggered, fluids from the stomach could irritate your esophagus and cause you to cough.
  • Air quality and allergies – Dr. Carr explained, “Springtime and fall coughs are often a result of pollen. Coughs during flu season typically come with sinus issues. In dry, windy areas, dust storms are a common cause for irritated lungs.”
  • Infections, tumors, medications – There are many other causes for chronic cough, from an infection that’s lingered after an illness or even medication for another issue. Visit a doctor if you are experiencing a cough that lasts for a week or longer, or if it is getting worse over time.

How can I stop coughing?

There are several home remedies including herbal teas and other soothing liquids, as well as over the counter cough medicines and cough drops. But in cases of chronic cough, you may only be treating the symptoms. When you visit your doctor, they will use attributes of the cough as tell-tale signs for the root cause.

Dr. Carr explained that in some cases, they may order an x-ray or other scan to get a full picture. Your doctor may recommend over the counter and prescription medication like allergy medication, antihistamines, nasal sprays and more. These solutions will work to address the original cause of your cough while also helping you be comfortable now.

Will I ever stop coughing!?

Coughs are no big deal until they won’t go away. If you are dealing with persistent coughing, you are likely having trouble sleeping, struggling to communicate at work or causing pain in other parts of your body. It’s not uncommon to deal with muscle soreness, chest pain or an upset stomach when coughing persists.

Don’t surrender to a life of constant interruption and discomfort. Work with a doctor to find what’s causing your chronic cough so that you can return to life. Don’t wait to schedule a visit with your doctor. Before too long, you’ll be working out, talking and sleeping with ease.

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