Coughs are caused by a variety of illnesses that are temporary, but coughing can also indicate that you have a chronic health condition. You may only cough for a few minutes when you are exposed to an irritant such as cigarette smoke or cooking odors, but if you have a respiratory infection, then you can have a severe cough for several days or weeks. Individuals with lung damage from smoking or long-term exposure to pollutants can cough throughout the day and night. You may also cough when you have a cold to reduce the phlegm in your throat, or you might cough to eliminate the acids that collect in the esophagus from having gastroesophageal reflux disease.
- Swollen tonsils
- Breathing difficulties
- Sore throat
- Excess saliva
- Sinus congestion
- Postnasal Drip
- Watery eyes
- Chest pressure
- Runny nose
For most types of coughs, you can determine if you have a cold or if you are having an allergic response to pollen. However, if your coughing symptoms last longer than normal or cause severe pain, then you should have an examination from a physician. Additional reasons for visiting a physician for coughing include producing large amounts of phlegm or producing blood when you are coughing. One of our team members will examine your throat, listen to your breathing and take X-rays of your lungs to determine if you have bronchitis, pneumonia, or lung cancer. There are also skin tests to determine if you have tuberculosis.
There are different treatments for coughing episodes that depend on what is causing the problem. Some of the treatments for coughs include:
- Cough suppressants – helps you to rest
- Acid blockers – reduce the production of stomach acids
- Asthma medication – inhaled medications to widen the airways
- Antibiotics – useful for tonsillitis, tuberculosis, or strep throat that causes coughing
- Decongestants – releases the congestion in the sinuses
- Antihistamines – turns off the coughing reflex in the brain
- Throat lozenges – soothes the throat to prevent coughing
- Vaporizer – creates warm moist air to reduce coughing
- Fluids – warm or cold beverages
- Chemotherapy – treatment for lung cancer
If you follow your physician’s treatment plans, then you can overcome a temporary health problem that causes a cough and you can manage major medical issues that cause coughing.
If you have a persistent cough and are concerned that it might be related to a bigger problem then come into WellCare Urgent Care in Grand Rapids. Our team will help to find the underlying cause of your cough and create a treatment plan for you.