A cough is a common reflex action that attempts to clear the throat of mucus or foreign articles. Coughing in order to clear the throat is an occasional action; however, there are other occasions of incessant and frequent coughing. A cough that lasts for less than three weeks is an acute cough, while a cough that lasts for a longer period is a chronic cough. A chronic cough is a symptom of an underlying condition
HOW IS COUGH DIAGNOSED?
The diagnosis is usually done by the general physician based on the symptoms. A physical examination will be carried out before asking about your medical history regarding asthma, allergies and any other chronic ailments. Lung function tests, X rays, scope tests and imaging tests can be carried out for better diagnosis.
HOW IS COUGH TREATED?
The treatment of this condition can be done with the help of antibiotics for infections, antihistamines for allergic attacks and cough suppressants for general, acute cough. Also, inhaled asthma medication can help in reducing excessive coughing.
DID YOU KNOW?
The most important aspect of prevention is to stop smoking and avoid second-hand smoke, particularly for people with asthma, chronic lung disease, and environmental allergies. Those affected with GERD, prevention is aimed at diet modification, sleeping with the head of the bed elevated, and taking all medications as prescribed. People on medication for a chronic lung disease, the best prevention are strict adherence to the doctor's prescribed treatments.
Cough is a symptom of a blocked air passage. When any foreign body is present in the air passage, coughing enables you to clear the air passage. If it is a regular happening, then it is called acute cough.
Acute cough lasts for about three weeks. If the cough persists for three to eight weeks then it is a case of subacute cough. If symptoms of cough persist for longer than eight weeks it is chronic cough. Coughing up blood or ‘barking’ cough are serious medical conditions that require the intervention of a medical practitioner. Whooping cough is another type of cough that develops in children.
Some of the reasons why a cough develops are:
Virus or bacteria can cause blockage of the air passage and infection which leads to coughing. Viral infections subside by itself. If cough is the result of bacterial infection then antibiotics are prescribed by your medical practitioner to reduce the cough.
Smoking causes cough and smokers have chronic cough symptoms. The cough will subside when they stop smoking and return when they start again. If you are a heavy smoker it is always better to stop smoking and thereby reduce the cough.
Allergies can cause coughs, those with asthma have regular cough which gets cleared up on taking medicine. Small children with asthma develop cough and they can be cleared by giving appropriate allergy medication.
Dry cough is a common condition in many individuals. They can be cured by home remedies for dry cough. Sometimes dry cough can be a side effect of some hypertension drugs. This is however rare and the cough stops when the medication is stopped.
Cough is a condition that can be self treated in healthy individuals through home remedies for cough. Sometimes a cough syrup is all that is needed. Other cough home remedies include gargling with salt water, taking milk with turmeric, taking soups and the like.
However there will be some medical emergencies that one needs to keep in mind related to cough. They are:
• When cough is accompanied by fever, chills and infection, you should seek the help of a medical practitioner.
• When you experience shortness of breath or difficulty in breath on coughing you should immediately consult a doctor.
• When cough does not get better with medicines.
• When cough interferes with sleep cycles and daily routine.
Sometimes cough is the only symptom for an underlying heart condition and has to be immediately treated and in such conditions none of the remedies work.
Old people who have a weak immune system will develop cough and has to be treated on medical emergency.
Cough which is left untreated and does not go away implies of a serious medical condition and has to be treated. Doctors will recommend a CT scan and other tests to check about the reason for the cough. Sometimes an echocardiogram is also recommended to check any underlying heart problem.
To avoid further incidents of cough smokers should try quitting smoking. A diet high in fibre, fruits, vegetables and flavonoids can help overcome the symptoms of cough.
Now that you have understood about cough and you need to check with a doctor for cough treatment in case you have chronic cough then Lybrate can help you. Lybrate has a list of doctors who are specialists or general practitioners. The list comprises of doctors from all over India. Whichever city or town you live in Lybrate will be able to provide you with information about the doctors. Find well known orthopaedists and general physicians in Nashik, Navi Mumbai, Noida, Panchkula, Patna etc.
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