Check Up: Her cough will not go away
Marie writes Check Up from a Portmore address. She said she has lived there for five years now but started having a noticeable cough only a couple of months ago.
She also has sinus problems occasionally and has a drip at the back of her throat. She has received treatment for the sinuses but her cough still persists.
She asks Check Up, "What can she do about the cough?"
A chronic cough is one which lasts for more than eight weeks in an adult and more than four weeks in a child. It can be exhausting, especially if it interrupts sleep.
It can also cause vomiting and lightheadedness. It is sometimes difficult to find the cause, but there are some common conditions.
- Postnasal drip
- Tobacco use
- Acid Reflux
- Some antihypertensive medications
The good thing is that if these problems are properly treated the cough will disappear. Other symptoms of a chronic cough include:
- A Postnasal drip (liquid running down the back of the throat)
- A sore throat
- Frequent clearing of the throat
- Runny or stuffy nose
- Wheezing and shortness of breath
A persistent cough is usually the result of a medical problem which needs your doctor's input, especially if your cough has lingered for weeks, disturbs your sleep or work, or is associated with blood-stained sputum repeatedly.
The majority of cases of chronic cough are caused by:
- Postnasal drip
- Asthma, which may be related to the seasons or occur after a viral flu or after exposure to chemicals and perfumes.
- Gastroesophageal reflux disease, where stomach acid can back flow up the oesophagus to the back of the throat and irritate the area, causing a recurring cough which is worse at night-time.
- Infections like flu, cold, pneumonia can be associated with a lingering cough after most all the other symptoms are gone.
- Chronic bronchitis.
- Several lung diseases, including lung cancer.
Other causes of a long-standing cough include stress, lack of fluids in your system, overuse of nasal decongestant sprays, and dust mites, moulds and allergens.