When is a Cough Chronic?
How many bottles of
cough medicine did you buy last winter? Do you usually carry a package
of cough drops?
A cough may seem like such a common thing - you just dose it and
ignore it. Don't do that. Your cough, if it is a chronic one, may
When a Cough is Chronic?
Has your cough been hanging around for a month or more? Then you
have a chronic cough. It doesn't matter that you cough only in the
morning when you get up, or only at night when you lie down. If
you've been coughing for more than a month, your cough is chronic.
Maybe you cough only during winter and feel fine the rest of the
year. That cough is a chronic cough.
What About Short-term Coughs?
Just about everybody coughs from time to time. The common cold,
for instance, is often followed by a cough that can last as long
as two or three weeks. But if your cough following a cold hangs
on longer than usual, it may be developing into a chronic cough.
If there is shortness of breath with a cough, or any pain, or blood
in what you cough up, you should see your doctor immediately, even
though your cough may not have lasted more than a few days.
What About Smoking?
Do you smoke a pack or more of cigarettes a day? If you do, you're
considered a heavy smoker. Heavy cigarette smoking can cause a chronic
Don't dismiss a cough that hangs on as "just a cigarette cough".
That cigarette cough of yours is serious in itself. It means that
your excessive smoking has already damaged your breathing passages.
In fact, the smoker who coughs is the person most likely to get
emphysema, or lung cancer.
You may be so used to your cigarette cough that you can't tell
when something new has been added. Are you coughing more than you
used to? For longer at a time? Or has your cough changed its character?
Maybe you're coughing up streaks of blood or more phlegm
(mucus). Any of these happenings may be a sign that something is
Chronic Cough is a Symptom
A chronic cough is not a disease in itself. It is a sign of something
wrong with the breathing system. That's why it isn't smart to take
cough medicine for more than a week or two unless your doctor tells
you to. Medicine may help with the cough, but meanwhile the underlying
illness can be getting steadily worse.
The most likely causes of chronic cough are: lung cancer...bronchitis
(inflammation in the lung tubes)...bronchiectasis (in which pus
pockets form along the tubes)...tuberculosis...other lung diseases.
Why Go to the Doctor?
The instant you realize you have a chronic cough, go to your doctor.
The doctor can make a number of tests to find out if a lung disease
is causing your cough. Then he or she can start treatment early
in the game. That is when most lung diseases can be dealt with successfully.
If you're coughing too much, find out why. It may be something minor
or it may be serious. Until you know for sure, it's nothing to fool
around with or neglect. Be sure - or you may be sorry!
Reference Source 101