Lybrate Logo
Get the App
For Doctors
Book Appointment
Ask a Question
Plan my Surgery
Health Feed
Health Feed
Find Doctors

Cough - Symptom, Treatment And Causes

Last Updated: Mar 15, 2022

What is Cough?

A cough is your body's method of responding once one thing irritates your throat or airways. An irritant stimulates nerves that send a message to your brain. The brain then tells muscles in your chest and abdomen to push air out of your lungs to force out the irritant. An occasional cough is normal and healthy.

A cough that persists for many weeks or one that brings up discoloured or bloody mucous secretion might indicate a condition that wants medical attention. At times, coughing may be terribly forceful — the rate of air from a full of life cough will approach five hundred miles associate hour. Prolonged, vigorous coughing is exhausting and might cause wakefulness, headaches, incontinency and even broken ribs.

What do mouth ulcers look like?

Mouth ulcers or sores usually develop on the soft tissue region in the mouth including lips, tongue, cheeks, gums, and floor as well as the roof of the mouth. These may be a result of weakened immunity or exposure to the herpes simplex virus.

Mouth ulcers appear as round or oval-shaped sores. These are with a white or yellow-colored center, surrounded by a red border of inflamed tissue.

Summary: Mouth sores appear round or oval-shaped with a white or yellow colored center surrounded by a red border. These look like small bumps on the soft tissue or mucosa inside the oral cavity.

Are mouth sores serious?

Mouth sores are not always serious. Mild cases are accompanied by the appearance of small-sized sores which are not recurrent. These are not as painful and get healed spontaneously without undergoing treatment. On the other hand, there are cases associated with serious symptoms of mouth sores.

The size of the sores in such cases are larger i.e more than half an inch. These larger sores being painful cause difficulty in eating, swallowing, breathing, or speech. They show frequent outbreaks as well as recurrence and may be associated with fever or diarrhoea and rashes.

Summary: Mouth sores get resolved easily when accompanied by mild symptoms. But it becomes serious and recurrent when the symptoms are severe including the larger size of the sores associated with pain, fever, diarrhoea, and difficulty in breathing, eating, or swallowing.

What are the Early Symptoms of Cough?

A chronic cough will occur with different signs and symptoms, which can 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
  • Hoarseness
  • Wheezing and shortness of breath
  • In rare cases, coughing up blood

What are the Causes of Cough?

An occasional cough is normal — it helps clear irritants and secretions from your lungs and prevents infection. However, a cough that persists for weeks is sometimes the results of a medical drawback. In several cases, quite one cause is concerned.

The following causes, alone or together, are responsible for the majority of cases of chronic cough:

  • Postnasal drip.
  • When your nose or sinuses turn out additional mucous secretion, it will drip down the rear of your throat and trigger your cough reflex.
  • This condition is additionally referred to as higher airway cough syndrome (UACS).
  • Asthma. associate asthma-related cough might come back and go together with the seasons, appear after an upper respiratory tract infection, or become worse when you're exposed to cold air or certain chemicals or fragrances.
  • In one style of bronchial asthma (cough-variant asthma), a cough is the main symptom.
  • Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD).
  • This condition occurs when stomach acid flows back into the tube that connects your stomach and throat (esophagus).
  • The constant irritation can lead to chronic coughing. The coughing, in turn, worsens GERD — a vicious cycle.
  • Infections. A cough will linger long when different symptoms of respiratory disease, flu, a cold or other infection of the upper respiratory tract have gone away.
  • A common but under-recognized cause of a chronic cough in adults is pertussis, also known as whooping cough.
  • Blood pressure drugs: Angiotensin-converting protein (ACE) inhibitors, that square measure ordinarily prescribed for top pressure level and coronary failure, square measure famed to cause chronic cough in some individuals.
  • Chronic bronchitis: This long-standing inflammation of your major airways (bronchial tubes) will cause a cough that brings up coloured body fluid.
  • Most people with bronchitis square measure current or former smokers.
  • Chronic bronchitis is sometimes a part of the spectrum of smoking-related respiratory organ illness referred to as chronic impeding pulmonic illness (COPD).
  • Emphysema is additionally incorporated below this term, and chronic bronchitis and emphysema often coexist in current or former smokers with COPD.

Less commonly, chronic cough may be caused by

  • Aspiration (food in adults; foreign bodies in children)
  • Bronchiectasis (damaged airways)
  • Bronchiolitis
  • Cystic fibrosis
  • Lung cancer
  • Nonasthmatic white corpuscle respiratory illness (airway inflammation not caused by asthma)
  • Sarcoidosis (collections of inflammatory cells in different parts of your body, most commonly the lungs)

What are the Precautions For Cough?

  • On the off chance that your cough has not improved when seven days or on the off chance that you have a high fever, skin rash, proceeding with cerebral pain, or sore throat with the cough, check with your specialist.
  • These signs may imply that you have other medical issues. For patients taking a codeine-containing medication or the other narcotic analgesics (e.g., dihydrocodeine, hydrocodone, oxycodone, and pentazocine):
  • Contact your doctor straight off if you expertise extreme drowsiness, confusion, or shallow breathing.
  • These symptoms might indicate that you simply square measure associate ""ultra-rapid metabolizer of codeine"".
  • Ultra-rapid metabolizers modification opiate to analgesic additional quickly and utterly than people.
  • For nursing mothers taking a codeine-containing medication or the other narcotic cough medication (dihydrocodeine, hydrocodone, or hydromorphone):
  • Call your doctor if you become extraordinarily tired and have issue caring for your baby.
  • Your baby ought to typically nurse each 2 to a few hours and will stay awaken quite four hours at a time.

Why won't my mouth sores go away?

Healing of mouth sores usually takes 10 to 14 days in mild cases. But when the condition varies from being moderate to severe, it may take around six or more weeks to recover. Such cases do not resolve spontaneously and require serious treatment under the supervision of a doctor.

Mouth sores occur again and again and do not go away in the following conditions:

  • Repetitive biting of tongue, lips, or cheeks
  • Chewing tobacco
  • Prolonged irritation after wearing dentures, braces, or retainers
  • Using a hard toothbrush
  • Exposure to herpes simplex virus
  • Persisting physiological abnormalities like irritable bowel syndrome
  • Stressful mode of life
Summary: Mouth sores are recurrent in some conditions including the prolonged wearing of dentures, braces or retainers, repetitive biting of the tongue, lips, or cheeks, or frequent exposure to the herpes simplex virus. Elimination of causative factors is important to prevent a recurrence.

Do mouth ulcers get bigger as they heal?

In the first stage of healing, ulcers are not yet formed and are associated with the presence of a burning or prickling type of sensations in the affected area. This is known as the prodromal stage which marks the beginning of the ulcer's healing.

The second stage is characterized by an increase in the size of the formed ulcer. This is the painful phase in which ulcers are formed having a yellow-grey center and surrounded by the red border. In the next and final stage, the pain subsides and the ulcer starts to shrink as a result of the healing process.


What is the Diagnosis for Cough?

  • Doctors will ask about your medical history and perform a physical exam.
  • Your doctor might also order tests to appear for the explanation for your chronic cough.
  • However, several doctors value more highly to begin treatment for one among the common causes of chronic cough instead of ordering high-ticket tests.
  • If the treatment does not work, however, you may undergo testing for less common causes.
  • X-rays - Though a routine chest X-ray will not reveal the foremost common reasons for a cough — symptom, acid reflux or asthma — it may be used to check for lung cancer, pneumonia and other lung diseases.
  • An X-ray of your sinuses might reveal proof of a sinus infection
  • Computerised tomography (CT) scans: CT scans conjointly could also be accustomed check your lungs for conditions which will manufacture cough or your sinus cavities for pockets of infection.
  • Lung function tests , noninvasive tests are used to diagnose asthma and COPD. They measure how much air your lungs can hold and how fast you can exhale.
  • Doctor might request AN respiratory disorder challenge check, which checks how well you can breathe before and after inhaling the drug methacholine (Provocholine).

When should I be worried about mouth sores?

Mouth sores are one of the commonly faced ailments occurring on the soft tissue region of the mouth including lips, gums, cheeks, tongue, etc. These are associated with pain and inflammation.

Difficulty in eating, drinking, breathing, or speech is a common symptom that can be overcome easily over a certain time period. However, the following are the symptoms that can make us worry and require a doctor’s consultation:

  • The size of the sores is larger i.e the diameter is more than half an inch
  • Occurrence of frequent outbreaks
  • Pain in the joints
  • Fever and diarrhoea
  • Appearance of rashes
Summary: Mouth sores are a common ailment affecting mainly soft tissue parts in the mouth such as the tongue, lips, cheeks, gums, etc. These are associated with pain and inflammation and are quite treatable depending upon the severity of symptoms.

Should I see a doctor or dentist for mouth sores?

Consultation with a doctor or dentist is not required in all cases of mouth sores. Mild cases get recovered easily within 10 to 14 days without seeing a doctor. However, severe cases need the same. Following are the indications for urgent medical attention in case of mouth sores:

  • The occurrence of white patches in the region of sores may be an indication of leukoplakia and oral lichen planus.
  • Infection with herpes simplex virus
  • Sores that are persistent and do not resolve spontaneously
  • Need of a new medication
  • The affected individual has recently undergone transplant surgery
Summary: Mild cases of mouth sores are resolved easily without any treatment, but cases other than that should undergo on-time treatment under the supervision of a doctor or dentist. Delayed treatment may lead to complications like mouth cancer.

What is the Treatment for Cough?

  • The best thanks to treat a cough caused by a virus infection is to let the system take care of it — typically, such clear up on their own.
  • Codeine, dextromethorphan, and different suppressants are typically employed by individuals with coughs.
  • However, there's not abundant analysis into medicines and the way abundant they will really cut back symptoms.

According to the National Health Service (NHS), United Kingdom, a homemade remedy with honey and lemon is as good, if not better than most over-the-counter (OTC) products sold in pharmacies. Treatments are principally geared toward creating the patient feel a bit bit higher however typically don't decrease the length of the cough.

Honey — It coats the throat, leading to less irritation and presumably less coughing. Honey is a demulcent (something that soothes).

  • Cough medications - Some might facilitate associated symptoms, like fever or a stuffy nose.
  • However, there's no compelling proof that cough medicines are effective in creating the cough escape quicker.
  • A variety of cough drugs is accessible for purchase online.
  • For small youngsters, it is a good idea to talk to a doctor before giving OTC medicine.
  • A few ingredients in medications, for example, codeine, can be risky for little kids. There is no proof that cough medicines facilitate youngsters, and that they will really be dangerous thanks to the facet effects.
  • Cough suppressants — these suppress the reflex and ar typically solely prescribed for a dry cough.
  • Examples include pholcodine, dextromethorphan, and antihistamines.
  • Expectorants — these facilitate point out secretion and different material from the trachea, bronchi, and lungs.
  • An example is guaifenesin (guaiphenesin), which thins the mucus and also lubricates the irritated respiratory tract, helping to drain the airways. Cough expectorants are available to purchase over-the-counter or online."

Ginger Tea

  • Ginger tea not solely tastes smart however conjointly helps in treating respiratory disorder and cough.
  • Mixture of lemon, cinnamon and honey
  • Another effective home remedy for respiratory disorder and cough could be a mixture of lemon, cinnamon and honey.
  • This syrup effectively cures cold and cough.

Luke-warm water

  • Drink luke-warm water frequently as it helps in fighting against common cold, cough and sore throat.
  • Warm water reduces inflammation within the throat and helps in replenishing the fluids and infection out of the body.

Milk and turmeric

  • An essential ingredient found in the majority Indian kitchens, turmeric has a strong antioxidant which helps in treating many health problems.
  • Turmeric mixed in heat milk could be a common and effective thanks to fight against cold and cough.

Gargle with salt-water

  • This is AN old medical aid that effectively treats cough and cold.
  • Adding turmeric in this salt-water is also beneficial.

Honey and Brandy

  • Brandy is known to keep your chest warm as it increases body’s temperature and missing honey in brandy helps in fighting a cough.

Spiced Tea

  • Add tulsi, ginger and black pepper while preparing your tea and this spiced tea is great for your health.
  • These 3 ingredients play a very important role in fighting a typical cold and cough.
  • Honey, lime juice and warm water
  • This is an ideal dose to enhance digestion and for the circulation system.
  • Adding honey to luke-lime water is that the best resolution in dominant respiratory disorder and cough.
  • Flaxseeds for cold and cough
  • Flaxseeds are another effective remedy to cure common cold and cough. You can boil flax seeds until it thickens and strain it.
  • Add a couple of drops of juice and honey to that and consume the mixture for cold and cough relief.

When Should I See a Pulmonologist for a Cough?

In the following cases, a pulmonologist will examine your lungs and respiratory system to determine the exact cause of your cough:

1. Once your chronic cough doesn't answer treatment by your Dr.

  • If your cough has been going on for longer than three weeks, it’s classified as chronic.
  • Even if your doctor has already diagnosed you with AN underlying condition like asthma attack or COPD, it might be a good idea to consult a pulmonologist if your first line of treatment is not working.

2. When you experience unintentional weight loss and fever

  • Weight loss and fever at the side of a chronic cough are often a cause for concern, especially if the fever lasts longer than a week.
  • These symptoms could be a sign of tuberculosis or lung cancer.
  • It may additionally signify a microorganism infection or maybe HIV.

3. When you cough up blood

  • When your chronic cough is suddenly in the midst of blood (haemoptysis), it could be a serious underlying medical condition that needs urgent attention.
  • Coughing up blood can be a symptom of bronchitis, tuberculosis, pulmonary embolism, or even physical trauma to the lung.
  • The blood may doubtless come back from outside the airway and originate within the abdomen or the nose, but whatever the cause, it is reason for concern.

4. When you have difficulty breathing

  • Any respiratory distress or a wheezing sound when coughing is cause for concern as this could be a sign of COPD, involving obstruction of the airways.
  • You should even have your cough examined by a specialist if you've got a good chest.
  • If you already suffer from COPD or asthma and experience a flare-up of breathing difficulties, a pulmonologist will test your lung function and take a chest X-ray to determine why you are not responding to treatment.

5. Once you area unit in danger of respiratory organ sickness like TB or COPD

  • If you've got any reason to worry concerning respiratory organ sickness, you might want to have a chronic cough examined by a specialist.
  • If you've got been recently exposed to somebody with TB, you might have been infected.

  • If you have been a smoker for many years, you could also be at risk for lung diseases such as COPD (especially emphysema, which is linked to tobacco smoke).
  • Some occupations such as in the mining and construction industries also pose a high risk for the contraction of COPD, as the dust and exposure to gases can lead to this condition.
  • If you suffer from chronic coughing and add one in all these industries, an additional examination to rule out COPD is important.

What vitamins prevent mouth ulcers?

Mouth ulcers can be prevented by the consumption of immunity-boosting herbs and adequate vitamins in the form of supplements. These should be incorporated into the regular diet so as to strengthen the immune system and prevent mouth sores-like conditions. Some of the preferred vitamins, as well as herbs, include:

  • Vitamin B, vitamin C, and vitamin A - Among vitamins, folic acid (Vit.B9) and thiamine (Vit. B1) is the most important which accelerate the healing process and also prevent the condition
  • Zinc
  • Herbs like Astragalus, Echinacea, and Wild Indigo
Summary: Prevention of mouth ulcers is possible by incorporating vitamins and herbs as supplements in our regular diet. These boost the immune system and enhance the resistance of our body against mouth sores like infections.
Summary: Mouth sores are a commonly occurring ailment, characterized by the presence of sores or ulcers in the soft tissue area of the mouth including lips, cheeks, tongue, etc. These are quite painful and discomforting. The condition can heal spontaneously in case of mild symptoms while symptoms in moderate or severe cases require urgent medical care and attention.


Popular Questions & Answers

View All

Hi, What can be the cause of tachycardia and hi...


Dr. Rajiv Bajaj


Coffee tea anxiety, cough medicines, nerves of heart affected by Diabetes (called autonomic neuro...

My ESR level is high it was nearly 100. Pls sug...


Dr. Amit Sharma


go for a complete detox of ur body with the help of ayurveda's Panchakarma therapy. It includes A...

Please suggest. VMA test kiya hota hain hyperte...


Dr. Rajiv Bajaj


Rest for very rare disease called pheochromocytoma. CAN is old test. Presently, urinary catechola...

I have little bit problem in near heart Side. N...


Dr. Jagtap T N

General Physician

Acidity, Gas and Heartburn Acid buildup, gas, and heartburn can cause mild to severe pain in the ...

If i am smoking cigratte so swine flu will harm...


Dr. Aravinda Jawali


No. Stop smoking Dr. Aravinda jawali pharmacological treatments to help quit smoking why is it so...

Table of content

Content Details
Profile Image
Written ByDr. Akhilesh Singh Post Graduate Course In Diabetology,CCEBDM(DIABETOLOGY) & CCMH ( CARDIOLOGY)General Physician
Need more help 

15+ Years of Surgical Experience

All Insurances Accepted

EMI Facility Available at 0% Rate

Find General Physician near me


Ask a free question

Get FREE multiple opinions from Doctors

posted anonymously

Having issues? Consult a doctor for medical advice