What is a Cough?
While an occasional cough is completely normal and helps to clear our irritants from the lungs, a persistent cough can be the result of a medical issue. There can be many causes of a chronic cough including postnasal drip, asthma, Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), infections, chronic bronchitis, and more. Those who are current or former smokers are at high risk for chronic cough, though exposure to secondhand smoke can also lead to coughing and damage to the lungs.
A chronic cough can occur along with other symptoms, including:
- Runny or stuffy nose
- Postnasal drip
- Sore throat
- Shortness of breath
Diagnosis of Chronic Cough
To diagnose your chronic cough, the doctor will ask about your medical history and perform an exam. Tests may also be ordered to determine the cause for your cough, including imaging tests such as x-rays or CT scans, lung function tests, lab tests, or scope tests.
Treatment of Chronic Cough
Once the cause of your chronic cough is determined, an individualized treatment plan can be created. Medications that are commonly caused to treat chronic cough may include:
- Antihistamines, decongestants, and glucocorticoids- used to treat postnasal drip and allergies.
- Antibiotics- used to treat bacterial infections that may cause cough.
- Inhaled asthma drugs- can help to treat an asthma-related cough.
- Acid blockers- used to treat acid reflux that may cause cough.
- Cough suppressants- used when the reason for cough cannot be determined, and symptoms are causing serious problems.
Drinking fluids, sucking on cough drops, using a humidifier to moisturize the air, and avoiding tobacco smoke can also help to remedy a chronic cough.
If you are concerned about your chronic cough, contact Springfield Urgent Care today. We can help to relieve your symptoms for a happier, healthier you!