When to See a Doctor About a Cough

When to See a Doctor About a Cough

A cough may seem like an annoyance, but it’s your body’s way of trying to protect your lungs. That’s because this natural reflex works to clear your airways from infection and foreign materials. However, certain coughs can indicate an underlying problem.

Our Advanced Allergy & Asthma team has on-site diagnostic tools to assess and identify respiratory issues that trigger coughs. Here’s what you should know about coughs and when to schedule an appointment at one of our offices in Ogden, Utah.

Acute versus chronic coughing

It’s one thing if you cough here or there. But if you have an acute or chronic cough, it’s time to look for answers.

Acute coughs typically last less than three weeks. However, this type of cough can linger for up to eight weeks, especially if you recently had a respiratory infection. Acute coughs usually occur in response to factors like:

In most cases, having chronic respiratory conditions like asthma can exacerbate an acute cough.

Unlike an acute cough, chronic coughs last longer than eight weeks and often occur because of health problems or chronic respiratory conditions. For example, sleep apnea, gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), asthma, heart disease, and lung cancer can all cause a chronic cough. You can even develop a chronic cough from taking certain medications.

When to see a doctor for your cough

The short answer is that it’s always wise to see an expert if you develop a cough, especially if it lasts longer than a few weeks. However, there are cough symptoms you shouldn’t ignore, despite the length of time you’ve had it. 

Our team recommends scheduling an appointment for a cough that has additional symptoms, such as:

You should get emergency medical attention if you have a high fever, chest pain, difficulty breathing, choking, or cough up pink, frothy mucus or blood.

Effective cough treatment

The first step to easing acute or chronic coughs involves an accurate diagnosis. Our team can help determine what’s triggering your cough and confirm or rule out underlying respiratory issues. 

During your consultation, we carefully review your medical history and symptoms. Based on your assessment, we could also perform additional testing to look for signs of acid reflux, sinusitis, or abnormalities in your lungs or airways. We can also measure your lung function through tests like spirometry.

As experts in allergy and asthma care, we can also accurately determine if these issues are behind your cough and what’s triggering your cough.

After reaching a diagnosis, we can outline a personalized treatment strategy to help manage your symptoms. We tailor these treatments to your specific needs with the long-term goal of controlling your cough. For example, if you have allergies or sinusitis, your treatments could involve medication and hydration, which helps reduce throat irritation. However, a chronic cough caused by asthma typically requires asthma medications designed to reduce airway inflammation.

Do you have a persistent or annoying cough? Contact Advanced Allergy & Asthma to schedule an appointment with our experienced team today.

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