People cough due to a lot of reasons. Some cough due to allergies, while others due to chronic diseases. But is there really a way to stop coughing?

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Causes of Coughing

A cough is sometimes misunderstood by many. Basically, when you cough, it means that your body coughs out stuff that doesn’t belong to your windpipe and lungs. This could be inhaled food or dirt. But here are some common triggers why people cough.

  • Acid Reflux – Stomach acids back up into your throat when heartburn occurs.
  • Allergies and Asthma – If you have either of these, your lungs can overreact due to some triggers like mold. So they are trying to cough out what is bothering them.
  • Irritants – Did you know that even if you are not allergic, there are things like cigarette smoke, cold air, or strong perfumes that can set off a hacking spell?
  • Postnasal Drip – Another coughing trigger is when your nose is congested. Mucus can drip down from your nose into your throat to make you cough. This often occurs when you have allergies, colds, flu, and sinus infections.
  • Viruses – The most common causes of coughing are colds and flu. The common cold is a viral infection affecting the upper respiratory tract. The same goes for flu or influenza a viral infection attacking the respiratory system.

Productive coughs get mucus filled with germs out of the lungs of a sick person. Some dry coughs would last for weeks or months after a cold. Coughing irritates the lungs, which also leads to coughing for longer periods.

  • Other Factors – Other causes also include drug side effects, lung inflammation, and sleep apnea. So it is very important to get persistent coughs checked by a physician or specialist to avoid separate problems.

How Long Does A Cough Last? 

The duration of the cough depends on the causes. For instance, if your cough is acute or one that is caused by the common cold or infection of the upper respiratory tract, then it would last in less than 3 weeks. If cough will last up to 7 days or more, occurs with fever or comes back, with headache or rashes that last, then it is advised that you call your physician right away.

Types Of Coughs

Dry Cough

Most dry coughs are caused by respiratory illnesses, such as flu or colds. Such coughs will develop when there is little or in the absence of mucus in the throat. A person will feel a tickling sensation in the throat and unable to stop coughing. 

A cough will go away on its own but people can investigate for other causes whenever it becomes chronic.

  • Asthma – Common symptoms include a tight sensation to the chest, shortness of breath, or wheezing.
  • GERD (Gastroesophageal reflux disease) – This commonly happens when stomach acids travel upwards the throat, which triggers coughing.
  • Lung Cancer – Sometimes, coughing can be related to lung cancer, coinciding with blood in the mucus. Although it is a rare circumstance that coughing is due to lung cancer, you need to see a doctor if your condition requires proper attention.

Treatment Of Dry Cough

You can ease the tickling sensation of dry cough by drinking water or taking cough medicine.

Wet Cough

Sometimes, wet cough can be described by people as a chesty cough. This occurs when you cough up mucus or phlegm. Wet cough is typically due to an infection, including common cold, flu, or chest infection.

If a person has a chest infection, he or she may cough up phlegm with small amounts of bright red blood. Such can be caused by blood that comes from the lungs, but typically not a cause for worry.

When you find yourself coughing up dark blood or one that contains food, or what resembles as coffee grounds, medical help is necessary.

Some wet coughs can be chronic in nature, which can be due to several factors.

  • Bronchiectasis – This is a condition that is caused by mucus pools in small pouches of the lungs in which your body is unable to clear out.
  • Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) – This is a type of lung disease wherein common symptoms would include wheezing and shortness of breath.
  • Non-tuberculous Mycobacterial Infection – This type of coughing is non-contagious and can be indicated by feeling unwell, tiredness and weight loss.
  • Pneumonia – This type of condition is caused by bacterial infection wherein the tissues of the lungs become inflamed.

Treatment of Wet Cough

You can help wet cough to stay productive by staying hydrated. Other cough medicines available over-the-counter are also used by some people for immediate relief, including chest rubs, cough drops, and pain relievers.

Whooping Cough

Whooping cough is a better term used for pertussis, a highly contagious bacterial infection. This illness will likely develop in newborns or people who failed to get vaccinated.

People with whooping cough will likely manifest mild cold or flu-like symptoms, succeeded by aggressive or painful coughing. Those with weak immune systems, including babies, might find it hard to fight the infection or might have trouble breathing.

Treatment of Whooping Cough

Whooping cough can be treated with antibiotics if taken early. So if symptoms will develop in an unvaccinated person, a doctor should be consulted as soon as possible.

Chronic Cough

A cough that lasts longer than a typical illness is already chronic. This takes around 8 weeks or longer. In some cases, this can signal an underlying disease. So a person must see a doctor for appropriate diagnosis and treatment.

Cough in Children

Some children, 5 years or younger, can develop a cough that sounds like a barking seal. While some children can develop the same cough as adults do. He or she usually has croup, which is a barking, painful cough caused by a flu or cold virus.

Conclusion

Coughing can be scary and sometimes may trigger fears of choking. When you cough, you are passing at least some air through the respiratory tract.

Mostly, cough will clear on its own, but chronic coughs and coughs in young children and unwell seniors will require prompt treatment.

Therefore, if a cough sounds bad, if it is so painful, or doesn’t go away, you need to see a doctor or healthcare provider immediately.

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