A cough can be an inconvenience, but often it is no cause for concern and will normally go away within a couple of weeks, or as you recover from an illness.
However, there are a number of situations where a cough should not be ignored, as it could be a sign of a more serious health issue.
Coughing to the point of exhaustion should also raise alarm bells. The cough could be a symptom of a much more serious illness, so be sure to see a doctor as soon as you can.
Coughs can be productive, those that produce phlegm, or “dry”.
Productive coughs with blood in the mucus could be a red flag.
“A small amount once or twice may not be a concern, but if it keeps happening, your doctor should know. It could be down to an infection or a more difficult illness like pneumonia. Coughing up blood, as well as a cough that won’t budge, can be a sign of lung cancer.”
“If you experiencing other symptoms like breathlessness and fatigue, it’s important you see your doctor as soon as possible. Also, if you feel otherwise well, be aware of a cough that lingers for more than a few weeks, this is because an ongoing cough could be linked to something like asthma or bronchitis, so it’s worth raising your continuing cough with a medical professional, to be on the safe side,” Dr Atkinson said.
Waking in the middle of the night to cough, and wheeze, can be another sign of asthma.
When it comes to youngsters, a hacking cough should be a signal something is wrong.
“Children can develop noisy breathing, hoarseness and a barking cough as part of a viral infection known as croup.”
This usually gets better on its own. See a doctor if the child deteriorates or is still ill two days later.
“The more serious bacterial whooping cough produces long paroxysms [sudden attacks] of coughing, followed by a desperate whoop as air is drawn back into the lungs,” Dr Brewer said.
Whopping cough can lead to dehydration, breathing difficulties, pneumonia or seizures in babies under six months, according to the NHS. It is treatable via antibiotics.
Dr Brewer also recommends seeing your doctor if a cough is accompanied by chest pain or unexplained weight loss, the result of inhaling poisonous fumes or a foreign substance…”
By Rosy Onuh
Source: Alexandra Thompsons