How To Deal With A Persistent Cough
Excuse me, exactly how long have you had that cough? That’s probably the most important question you can ask yourself about a common symptom that can mean anything from allergies to bronchitis, acid reflux, tuberculosis, or cancer. If your cough has been going on for two weeks or more, that’s a pretty good reason to get some medical attention and figure out the cause of the cough so you can resolve it.
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It’s worst at night, partly due to the simple mechanical effects that lying down does to your anatomy, and partly as a result of the normal, daily chemical and hormonal cycles in your body. Some people cough so hard they may cause painful strains in muscles in the chest, back, neck, or abdomen, headaches, or vomiting.
It’s during that repair period, which sometimes lasts a month or more when mucus membranes continue to crank out mucus. During this time your natural cough reflex, which is there to help you expel unwanted materials from your respiratory tract, is seriously overactive. Sometimes it is triggered even when there’s nothing there to expel!
It gets better slowly. And what helps most is avoiding irritants (like smoking – any kind of smoking), good hydration, and humidification. During this stage of your recovery, you’re generally not contagious. But “cover your cough” anyway, please. And if you have a cough lasting more than two weeks, or one that is associated with persistent fevers, chills, sweats, shortness of breath, chest pain, substantial weight loss, or coughing up blood, get yourself checked out by a health care professional.
You may or may not need antibiotics. But if you have any of these “associated symptoms,” it’s important to rule out more serious conditions (like pneumonia). And even if you just need some reassurance, that’s definitely what I’m here for.
At Primary Caring of Malibu we have returned to old-fashioned style family medicine to bring our patients the exclusive personal care and attention they deserve. It’s not a new idea — it’s just an old concept brought up-to-date, with modern methods and technology making it even better.
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