This is a collaborative post.
Although it can be a bit irritating to have a cough, it is an important part of how we protect our lungs and airways from irritants. It’s a reflex our body has to try and clear out any mucus, germs and dust that might be causing us irritation. While everyone will cough once in a while, if it becomes persistent and doesn’t go away, it can be cause for concern and you should pay attention to it.
Here are some common causes of a persistent cough, and how they might be treated.
Allergies can often manifest as a cough being one of the symptoms and are usually associated with hay fever. These allergies usually come along with a runny nose, sneezing and other cold-like symptoms. A cough that is caused by allergies is usually a dry cough.
One of the chronic conditions that might cause a persistent cough is asthma. It’s a chronic condition that causes the muscles in your airways to tighten and the cells in your airways to produce a mucus. Coughing is a reaction to clear this mucus from your airways and get air into your airways that have been restricted. Inhaled steroids and bronchodilators can both be useful for treating asthma, but the condition should be diagnosed, and a treatment plan should be worked out with your doctor.
Another common cause of a persistent cough are infections that affect your upper respiratory tract and lungs. The most common of these are bronchitis and pneumonia, both of which should be treated by a medical professional as antibiotics will likely be required. For some good information on what it is and how to treat pneumonia, have a look at Patient, which offers a comprehensive online guide to medical conditions and health.
A recent addition to the causes of a persistent cough is the COVID-19 pandemic, a coronavirus that infamously lists a dry cough as one of the symptoms. The cough can stick around well after the infection has passed. Although there are some ways to manage symptoms, there isn’t yet any medication specifically for a coronavirus infection, other than a vaccination which can help prevent severe illness and symptoms.
Smoking is one of the most harmful things that we choose to do to ourselves, and a common cause of chronic coughing. Smoking causes damage to your lungs and airways and the irritants in tobacco smoke can cause a persistent and chronic cough because your body will produce excess mucus to try and clear out these irritants. You can stop smoking to reduce or eliminate a smoker’s cough.
It is always important to keep in mind that any cough that is persistent and doesn’t clear up relatively quickly is cause for concern and can be signs that something more serious is wrong or you have a condition that might need to be managed by a healthcare professional. No matter if a cough is acute or chronic, if it is persistent and accompanied by any other symptoms, seeking medical help is always advised.