During cold and flu season, coughing is a natural part of the landscape. In fact, it is so common and natural that many people ignore it.
However, coughing, regardless of when it happens, may indicate a more serious condition. That’s why you should schedule a doctor appointment if you are dealing with a persistent cough.
Why Do You Cough?
Coughing is a bodily reflex. It is used to clear your airways and protect your lungs from infection and foreign materials.
Irritants can cause you to cough. These irritants include infections, smoke, and pollen.
Even though occasional coughing is normal, it may result from a more serious condition that requires medical attention. That’s why you need to know this warning sign and when you should contact your doctor.
Self-Care for Coughing
Usually, cough medicines are only effective if you are dealing with an acute condition resulting in coughing. They may also be used for situations where your cough impacts your sleep and if it isn’t combined with other symptoms.
Be sure to follow the instructions for dosage when using cough medicine.
You can also use a few other self-care methods if you are dealing with a cough. Some examples include:
- Using honey
- Sucking hard candy or cough drops
- Moisturize the air
- Stay hydrated
- Avoid tobacco smoke
These steps should help you avoid developing a more serious cough or the cough lasting even longer.
When Does a Cough Require Medical Attention?
Acute coughs caused by an infection, allergens, or an irritant will typically clear up in just a few weeks.
While this is true, it is still smart to follow up with your doctor if this lasts for more than three weeks or if it takes place with other symptoms.
Some symptoms to look for include:
- Unexplained weight loss
- Night sweats
- Thick mucus
- Shortness of breath
If your cough is combined with any of the following symptoms, you need to seek emergency medical care. These include:
- Difficulty breathing
- Coughing up blood
- Chest pain
- High fever
Don’t wait to seek medical attention in these cases. Usually, these symptoms, along with a persistent cough, indicate a more serious underlying condition that needs to be addressed.
When to Schedule a Doctor Appointment for Your Cough
Coughing is common. Coughs can also be chronic or acute. Also, some coughs may produce mucus (yellow or green) while others don’t.
Several factors may cause you to cough. This includes things like respiratory infections, environmental irritants, and chronic conditions such as COPD or asthma. Coughing is also a symptom of COVID-19.
At-home remedies can help to ease persistent coughs. While this is true, it is a good idea to schedule a doctor appointment if you notice any of the symptoms above, along with your cough.
If you found the information here helpful, and are looking for other health-related resources, be sure to check out our other blogs. We post regularly to help keep you informed.