While it is very important to take antibiotics for a cough, if your cough is severe or prolonged, you may need to consult a doctor to get a diagnosis. Often, cough is a symptom of another ailment, such as allergies, asthma, or postnasal drip. In such cases, the doctor can prescribe an immediate or delayed course of antibiotics to manage your condition. However, patients who are at risk of developing complications should also be evaluated face to face by a physician to determine the cause of their cough.
A wet cough, also called a productive cough, is a chronic condition in which you produce a significant amount of mucus or phlegm from your respiratory tract. Most often, this is caused by bacterial or viral infections. Other symptoms of a wet cough include runny nose and sore throat. In severe cases, the cough may be accompanied by postnasal drip, a type of mucus that runs down the throat.
If a persistent wet cough persists for more than six weeks, it may progress to bronchiectasis. In this case, the cough may be due to an infection affecting the lower airways, which leads to more damage. Smoke, dust, and air pollution may all contribute to this condition. Underdiagnosis and improper treatment of chronic wet cough can lead to bronchiectasis. However, if you catch the condition early enough, the damage may be limited or reversed.
While the cough may not be very painful, the discharge may be yellow or green. This indicates an immune response to the infection, as the neutrophils that attack the infection rush to the infected area and release an enzyme that is green. Postnasal drip may also be the result of a deviated septum. If the septum is crooked, surgery to correct it may be necessary.
If the symptoms are triggered by a certain allergen, a simple change in bedding and a frequent cleaning of the air filter may help. Keeping the head elevated may also help drain excess mucus. In addition, drinking plenty of water can help to keep the nasal passages moist and thin the mucus. If you’re experiencing general discomfort, drinking hot beverages or steam can help. These drinks are also soothing to the throat.
Asthma and cough are often a symptom of underlying bronchial disease. In older adults, cough is the most common symptom. However, asthma and cough may occur together. When assessing an elderly patient with asthma, a physician must look for a decline in peak flow during the early morning hours, which may be indicative of a worsening condition. The presence of bronchial hyperresponsiveness is an additional marker of asthma.
In addition to asthma and cough, a person may also have a dry cough or eosinophilic sputum. Cough variant asthma is a relatively uncommon form of asthma and can be treated just like chronic asthma. The first step in treating asthma and cough is ensuring consistent use of medications. While daily medications are critical to a person’s progress, short-acting medications may be used to relieve coughing attacks.
One of the most irritating side effects of allergies is coughing. This condition is triggered by allergens, which can be tree pollen, grass, animal dander, dust mites, mold spores, or even a combination of all these. Postnasal drip is also a common symptom of allergic reactions, resulting in a tickly throat and itch. While you might not know what’s causing your cough, it’s a good idea to get tested for allergies.
Symptoms of allergy-induced cough tend to occur in the morning and early afternoon, when pollen levels are highest. You should note the type and duration of your cough, since allergies do not cause fever. A cough caused by a cold is generally wet and hacking, and it produces phlegm or mucus, which can have a green or yellow tint. If your cough is dry, it could be an allergy-related condition.
Acid reflux can result in a chronic cough. The cough is often timed, particularly after meals and before bedtime. It does not go away, even after several days. This type of cough is dry and shallow, resulting from irritation to the esophagus and buildup of fluid in the lungs. It can even lead to pneumonia if acid reaches the lungs. But if left untreated, acid reflux can lead to a serious condition.
Proton pump inhibitors are a common treatment for suspected acid reflux cough. Unfortunately, they are not approved for marketing in the United States. However, respiratory medicine physicians and otolaryngologists continue to prescribe them with confidence, despite the questionable effectiveness of these drugs. Nevertheless, they are a cheap and easy way to determine if you are suffering from acid reflux cough. Regardless of the cause of your acid reflux cough, you should seek medical attention.