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Cough - Symptom, Treatment And Causes

A cough is a common condition that affects people of almost all age brackets. Cough can be either chronic or acute in nature. Coughs that are generally acute in nature lasts for a week whereas a chronic cough can span over a month. Cough isn’t detrimental to one’s health but in some severe cases can cause lightheadedness, vomiting and consequent nausea. Sometimes, cough can be annoying causing severe disruption in your sleeping pattern.

Causes of Cough

It is often times difficult to pinpoint the exact reason which triggers a cough. Bodily dysfunctions such as existing conditions (Eg. Asthma, allergies) and external reasons such as tobacco usage, acid reflux and postnatal dripping (a condition where the sinuses produce extra mucus which drips down from the back of the throat) may trigger such a condition. In other cases, it may appear as a symptom of more serious diseases like upper respiratory infection, bronchitis or sarcoidosis (accumulation of inflammatory cells in various parts of the body).

Risk factors

Having a smoking habit is one of the primary reason for chronic cough. So much so that doctors have termed it as a separate condition called smoker’s cough. It has been found that secondhand smoke or passive smoking also leads to cough in addition to more detrimental damages to the bronchial passage (region comprising the lungs). Between the sexes, statistics determined women are typically more prone to developing cough than men. A relatively more sensitive cough reflex in women has been attributed as cause.


A casual cough is normal and to an extent even beneficial as it helps clean irritants and unwanted secretions from the lungs and the passage of the throat. This in turn prevents infection. But having a persistent cough can be harmful as it can lead to a plethora of associated problems. Apart from a dry and painful throat it can lead to further maladies such as headache, sweating, dizziness and even loss of bladder control. Although mostly in rare cases, it can even cause a person to pass out (known as syncope in medical terms).

Diagnosis and treatment

A general physician may prescribe you oral medications and cough syrup for a standard cough. Yet a reason for concern may arise if the condition persists even after. In such cases, the doctor will evaluate your medical history and make you undergo imaging tests such as X-rays and CT scans. Post diagnosis the doctor may prescribe appropriate cough suppressants or strong antibiotics to relieve your condition.

Treatable by medical professional Self diagnosable Lab test not required Short-term: resolves within days to weeks Spread through the air or contaminated surfaces
Runny nose Sore throat Hoarseness Shortness of breath Wheezing Coughing up blood

Popular Health Tips

Five Signs That You Might Be Suffering From Early Stage Lung Cancer!

Dr. Piyush Goel 93% (14 ratings)
MBBS, MD - Pulmonary Medicine, FNB-Critical Care and Medicine
Pulmonologist, Gurgaon
Five Signs That You Might Be Suffering From Early Stage Lung Cancer!
The sound of the word cancer can be really traumatic and the fact the one may most of the time be unaware of this condition can be hard to handle. The same is the situation in the case of lung cancer as it does not produce any remarkable signs and symptoms in its early stages. However, there are ways in which you can be aware of this life-threatening ailment. Here are some tell-tale signs of an early stage of lung cancer: A stubborn cough: Beware when a cough is lingering on for long with no sign of relief. When a cough is related to cold and respiratory infection, it will subside within a week or so. But in case the cough is persistent, it can be a symptom of lung cancer. You should never dismiss a stubborn cough regardless of whether it is dry or producing mucus. You should talk to a doctor right away as he can check the lungs and may order for other tests to determine whether you have cancer. Breathing problems: Becoming easily winded or shortness of breath is considered the most prominent symptoms of lung cancers. This may occur when cancer blocks or inhibit the airway or when the fluid from the tumor starts building up in the chest. If you find that it is becoming difficult for you to breathe in doing tasks that you found easy before, you should not ignore it. Wheezing: When the airways become inflamed, blocked or constricted, then the lungs would produce a wheezing and whistling sound while breathing. It can be associated with a host of other causes that are easily treatable but could also be due to lung cancer. Headache: Even though headaches are considered one of the most common health problems, if there is a persistent headache, then it could be a sign that lung cancer has spread to the brain. It is important to understand that all headaches are not associated with the brain metastases. There are times when the lung cancer creates pressure on the superior vena cava which is in charge of supplying blood to the upper part of the brain. This pressure can also lead to headaches. Pain in the bone: If the lung cancer has spread to the other parts of the body, then it may produce mild pain in the back and other parts of the body. It tends to become worse during the night when you are resting on your back. But it can be difficult for a commoner to differentiate between muscle and bone pain. In case you are suffering from bone pain, you will see that it is becoming worse with movement. Moreover, lung cancer is also associated with pain in the shoulder, neck, and arm even though it is very rare. You should be very attentive to the pain and aches in the body and consult with an expert at the earliest. You can easily combat lung cancer if diagnosed and treatment is started in its early stages.

Causes Of Hernia And Its Ayurvedic Treatment!

Dr. Omkar Shahapurkar 93% (4403 ratings)
MD, Bachelor of Ayurveda, Medicine and Surgery (BAMS)
Ayurveda, Pune
Causes Of Hernia And Its Ayurvedic Treatment!
Hernia or what in Ayurveda is known as Antra Vriddhi, is a condition that takes place when an internal organ in your abdomen gets displaced and protrudes outward, giving rise to swelling in the abdominal region. Even though you can develop a hernia anywhere in your body, it mostly occurs in the abdominal region and can affect both men and women at any age. The causes of hernia are: Even though hernia can be a hereditary condition, certain factors can contribute in causing it. These are: Persistent coughing Putting excess pressure while passing faeces Straining your abdominal muscles by exercising or lifting objects that are heavy Obesity Buildup of fluid in your abdominal cavity Symptoms: Some of the symptoms that indicate you have hernia include a visible, hard protrusion, development of soft lumps and pain. However, some people may not experience any symptoms at all. Hernia can be of many types, depending on the part of the body affected and even varying on the basis of your gender. In worst cases, you may require surgery but Ayurveda can cure your hernia completely without the need of you going through a surgical process. How does Ayurveda help? Ayurveda helps in curing your hernia by focussing on your diet. If you follow these rules, you can cure yourself of hernia completely. Reduce the amount of food you eat in a day and take small meals frequently instead of the standard three meals. While eating, make sure you eat your food slowly. Drink lots of water and other fluids, but do not consume aerated drinks It is advised not to take water with your meals, but only to drink a glass of water only half an hour before each meal. By doing this, you reduce your chances of getting heartburn and aid in the proper functioning of the digestive system. Eating any form of raw food, such as uncooked meat and vegetables is strictly forbidden along with processed foods such as bread, cakes, cookies etc. However, when eating cooked food, make sure it's lightly cooked and not overcooked. Having a glass of juice freshly squeezed from vegetables or fruits is recommended, especially carrot juice as it is enriched with calcium and vitamin A that help in the healing process. Make sure that whole grains, nuts, seeds, vegetables and fruits are a part of your diet. Lastly, go for a walk before and do not sleep after eating, especially if you've had a heavy meal. Herbs for Healing Hernia- An integral part of natural cures is herbal remedies and herbs are excellent cures that are effective and devoid of side effects when taken with proper consultations of an herbalist. To heal hernia one can take herbs like fennel seeds, sheep sorrel, slippery elm, Licorice root and black walnuts. A majority of these herbs can be consumed in the form of herbal teas while others are available in the form of supplements and capsules. Herbs like fennel can be consumed as it is since it is highly beneficial in enhancing the digestion. Licorice root is very good for neutralizing the acid formation and slippery elm helps in easing the discomfort and pain in the abdomen.
2 people found this helpful


MD - Paediatrics, MBBS
Pediatrician, Gurgaon
What causes cough, runny nose, and other symptoms of the common cold? These symptoms are usually caused by a viral infection. Lots of viruses can take hold inside your nose, mouth, throat, or lungs, and cause cold symptoms. Most adults get over a cold without lasting problems but having a cold can be uncomfortable especially for kids. What are the symptoms of the common cold? The symptoms include: Sneezing Coughing Sniffling and runny nose Sore throat Chest congestion In children, the common cold can also cause a fever. How can I tell if my child has a cold or the flu? The common cold and the flu both cause many of the same symptoms. But they also have some important differences. This table can help you tell the difference between a cold and the flu (table below). SYMPTOMS COLD FEVER Fever Rare Usual;high (100-102 deg F), lasts 3-4 days Headache Rare Common General aches and pains Slight Usual, often severe Fatigue, weakness Sometimes Usual, can last upto 2-3 weeks Extreme exhaustion Never Usual, at the beginning of illness Stuffy nose Common Sometimes Sneezing Usual Sometimes Sore throat Common Sometimes Chest discomfort, cough Mild to moderate, Hacking cough Common; can become severe When should I call the doctor? Most people who have a cold do not need to see the doctor Call your child's doctor if he or she: A fever of more than 100.4 F (38 C) that comes with shaking chills, loss of appetite, or trouble breathing. Refuses to drink anything for a long time Is younger than 4 months Has a fever and is not acting like him- or herself Has a cough that lasts for more than 2 weeks and is not getting any better Has a stuffed or runny nose that gets worse or does not get better after 2 weeks Has red eyes or yellow goop coming out of his or her eyes Has ear pain, pulls at his or her ears, or shows other signs of having an ear infection Take your child to the emergency room if he or she: Becomes confused or stops responding to you Has trouble breathing or has to work hard to breathe What should I know if my child has a cold? In children, the common cold is often more severe than it is in adults and also lasts longer. Usually it lasts 3 to 7 days, but some children may have symptoms for up to 10 days. In addition, children often get a fever during the first 3 days of a cold. Are cough and cold medicines safe for children? If your child is younger than 6, you should not give him or her any cold medicines. These medicines are not safe for young children. Never give aspirin to any child younger than 18 years old. In children, aspirin can cause a life-threatening condition called Reye syndrome. When giving your child acetaminophen or other nonprescription medicines, never give more than the recommended dose. However you may try some home remedies like honey admixed with ginger and older children may beneffit from steam inhaltion and warm saline gargles Can the common cold lead to more serious problems? In some cases, yes. In some people having a cold can lead to: Pneumonia or bronchitis (infections of the lungs) Ear infections Worsening of asthma symptoms Sinus infections How can I keep from getting another cold? The most important thing you can do is to wash your hands often with soap and water. Alcohol hand rubs work well, too. The germs that cause the common cold can live on tables, door handles, and other surfaces for at least 2 hours. You never know when you might be touching germs. That's why it's so important to clean your hands often. You may also take steps towards improving your child's immunity like giving him a wholesome and nutritious diet comprising of all vegetables and fruits. Encourage physical activity/ exercise in your child. You may also provide him/her protection from seasonal flu by enruring regular vaccination for the same.
10 people found this helpful

Whooping Cough In Children - Causes And Symptoms

Dr. Amit Nagpal 87% (10 ratings)
MBBS, MD - Paediatrics, Pediatric Cardiac Intensive Care Fellowship
Pediatrician, Gurgaon
Whooping Cough In Children - Causes And Symptoms
What causes whooping cough in children? Whooping cough, also known as pertussis, is a highly communicable respiratory disease, which particularly affects babies younger than 6 months and who haven't been vaccinated yet. It can also affect children of 11 to 18 years of age who suffer from low immunity. If the diagnosis of a whooping cough is done at an early stage, antibiotics of suitable dosage could help cut down coughing and few other symptoms. Doing so will also help prevent the infection from spreading to others. What causes a whooping cough? 1. Bordetella pertussis bacteria A whooping cough, characterised by a 'whooping sound', is caused by a bacterial infection called bordetella pertussis. The bacteria when inhaled get attached to the lining of the airways in your child's upper respiratory system, wherein they release toxins to cause swelling and inflammation. It's mostly transmitted to you from your infant, especially when he/she is in the early stages of the infection and hasn't been diagnosed yet. It can last about three weeks, this duration is reducible to five days, by antibiotic treatment. 2. Transmission from an infected person When anyone infected with the disease sneezes or coughs, the droplets in the surrounding become infected. Young children who come in contact with the contaminated surrounding may get infected by the same bacteria. How to recognise the signs of whooping cough? The symptoms tend to worsen gradually and become worse at night, there are bouts of a cough as the airway gets irritated by the bacterial toxin leading to swelling and inflammation and mucus production with airway spasm. You know that your child has this condition if he/she displays the following symptoms: mild coughing low fever sneezing runny nose Moreover, children under 18 months of age affected with whooping cough should be watched at carefully as persistent coughing can disrupt their breathing process. Young babies with severe conditions may even need hospital care.
516 people found this helpful

Best Homeopathic Remedies For Sinusitis!

Dr. Manu Pratap Singh 89% (112 ratings)
BHMS, PG Diploma In Clinical Cosmetology (PGDCC) & PGDMT
Trichologist, Gurgaon
Best Homeopathic Remedies For Sinusitis!
How is homeopathy beneficial for sinusitis? Sinuses, also known as paranasal sinuses as they surround the nasal cavity, are hollow air-filled cavities. Humans have four pairs of such cavities which are known as: -Frontal sinus - in the forehead -Maxillary sinus - behind the cheekbones -Ethmoid sinus - between the eyes behind the bridge of the nose -Sphenoid sinus - behind the eyes What is sinusitis? Sinusitis is the inflammation or infection of one or more of the sinuses. It can be caused by a virus, bacteria, fungus, allergies or excessive nose blowing and results in the blockage of the sinus opening. Sinusitis can be acute (lasting 4 or lesser weeks), subacute (lasting 4 to 8 weeks), chronic (lasting beyond 8 weeks) and recurring (several attacks in a year). Acute sinusitis generally causes pain in the sinuses, headaches, loss of smell, stuffiness, and coughs as well as may also cause bad breath, toothaches, and fever. What does the homeopathic treatment for sinusitis entail? Homeopathy is an alternative medicine system which uses plants and minerals to develop remedies that augment the body's natural defenses by stimulating symptoms of the disease the patient is suffering from. Acute sinusitis finds a permanent cure in homeopathy. Though treatment takes time, it rebuilds the body's immunity to sinusitis. It drains the sinuses, kills the germs and wipes the infection off at the root, thus preventing it from recurring. When antibiotics are used to treat sinusitis, there may be side effects such as fungal infections. Fungal infection is a leading cause of chronic sinusitis. Homeopathy can boost the body's immunity which can treat fungal infections from the root, hence eliminating chances of recurrence. It can treat the symptoms of sinusitis and provide relief from associated respiratory diseases and allergies. There are different remedies available to treat the different symptoms of sinusitis, which work together to completely cure it by boosting the body's immune system without having any side effects. Homeopathy for Nasal Polyps: With Chronic sinus, soft growths arising from the mucous membrane of the nose or paranasal sinus are referred as nasal polyps. The most common treatment option suggested by a conventional system in nasal polyps is surgical removal. In most cases, nasal polyps reappear after surgery. However, surgery is a temporary fix since it does not address the body's tendency to form polyps. Homeopathy, on the other hand, offers a permanent solution by treating the root cause. Following six homeopathic medicines are usually recommended for nasal polyps - Lemna Minor, Sanguinaria Can, Calcarea Carb, Kali Bichrome, Teucrium, and Phosphorus. If you would like to consult with me privately, please click on 'Consult'.
3 people found this helpful

Popular Questions & Answers

I am suffering from dry cough for the last two weeks and I have chest pain whenever I cough hard. Can you suggest what should be done?

Dr. Jagmeet Kaur 96% (457 ratings)
MD-Ayurveda,Kayachikitsa(Ayurvedic physician), BAMS, MD
Ayurveda, Jammu
Dear user get urself an X-ray chest done, CBC, ESR, done then only would b able to advice. Avoid cold items drink lukewarm water. For more details consult me. Thnx.

Hi, I am 30 year old, I am suffering with cough during 2 year, and I also take medicine regular, and I also checkup in Dr. In our local area, but no any improvement. Please suggest me what I do?

Dr. Pulak Mukherjee 91% (1804 ratings)
Take honey in warm water, take ginger juice along with you need proper homoeopathic treatment to cure your problem permanently, soo you can contact me through Lybrate in private consultation.

Respected sir ,I am suffering from sputum problem since two years after taking meals or any eatables. Sputum is always come out from mouth .What can I do please help out me sir.

Dr. G.R. Agrawal 94% (16865 ratings)
DHMS (Hons.)
Homeopath, Patna
Hello, You mean ,sputum without cough. Drink luke warm water. Tk, homoeopathic medicine: Bryonia 30-6 pills, thrice. Heper sulph 30-6 pills, thrice. Avoid, junk food, dust, nicotine & alcohol. Tk, care.

I am a patient of hemoptysis which I generally suppress by eating trenaxa 500, I have an external gland in my lungs (history of 5 years) which causes hemoptysis. It was advised by the doctor that the same is not major I can go with it until its necessary as the blood amount is a half a cup to a cup which may heal by itself with time. So I avoid going to doctor whenever it happened and usually eat trenaxa for a week and do yoga for lungs and that helps me in healing process. But now its been nearly a week and hemoptysis occurred 3-4 times in a row in 6 days usually when I lay down on bed after doing continuous work for some hours. I can continue with trenaxa to suppress it and yoga for healing but I do not know what are the side effects of supessing it (like clots formation in lungs etc. Also doctor told me that if next time it occur he will do some bronchial embolization or something to treat it but I avoid that situation in the fear that what happens to me after that surgery and if I can heal it myself then I should. Please tell me if I am doing right, side effects of what I am doing and what will happen (what I will be like) if I go for the embolization thing? I will be really grateful if you help me with this as I am currently suffering from spitting of blood.

Dr. Aparna Kulkarni 88% (79 ratings)
MD - Ayurveda, Bachelor of Ayurveda, Medicine and Surgery (BAMS)
Ayurveda, Bangalore
Hemoptysis is the coughing up of blood or blood-stained mucus that may be from bronchi, larynx, trachea, lungs. The reason behind may be any of these! lung cancer, infections such as tuberculosis, bronchitis, pneumonia, certain cardiovascular conditions. Your treatment varies from conditions. One on one consultation is needed for proper treatment.
1 person found this helpful

Hello doctor I'm 20. I feel a bad smell in my nose while bending down. I had severe cold past weeks. I took tablets for it now it cured 70 percentage, still now I have cold. I took blood test my esr value is 42 which should be 15. I have wheezing and I use cipla foracort 200 cipla levolin Cipla metaspray (nasal spray) Will it be a cancer? I'm so afraid please help me.

Dr. Jayvirsinh Chauhan 97% (3237 ratings)
MD - Homeopathy, BHMS
Homeopath, Vadodara
Hi lybrate-user. No it may not be cancer. But bad sinus infection. And it is better to take homoeopathic treatment as it can permanently cure it. While what you don't know is Foracort is a steroid and you don't have any idea what side effects it can cause. So my advise is to start homoeopathic treatment so we can gradually stop the harmful allopathic medicines. You may take Kali Bich 30 3 doses at the interval of one hour and then consult after 1 week.
2 people found this helpful

Health Quizzes

Common Cold And Cough in Children

Dr. Jinendra Kumar Jain 95% (2516 ratings)
Diploma in Child Health (DCH), F.I.A.M.S. (Pediatrics)
Pediatrician, Muzaffarnagar
Wash your child s hands regularly to avoid common cold infections. True or false? Take this quiz to find out.
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Dry Cough And Homeopathy

Dr. Gouri Sankar Maiti 88% (119 ratings)
Homeopath, Kolkata
Hold your breath for 43 seconds and then release it; this will definitely cure your dry cough. True or false? Take the quiz to find out.
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Myths and Facts About Cough

Can you bust common myths about cough? Take this 1-minute challenge to find out!
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