What is a cough?
A cough is a natural response to an irritation of your throat or the airways that connect to your lungs. When something triggers the nerves in your throat, a message travels to your brain, which causes your chest and abdominal muscles to force air out through your lungs.
While everyone coughs on occasion, a persistent cough lasting for several weeks can be a sign of an underlying health issue. You should also schedule an evaluation at Advanced Allergy & Asthma if you have a cough that produces bloody or discolored mucus.
What causes a cough?
There are a variety of conditions that can cause a persistent or chronic cough. If you have a cold or the flu, you can expect to have an acute cough that typically resolves when your cold goes away. A chronic cough in a nonsmoker with a normal chest X-ray most often is caused by asthma, acid reflux, or sinusitis.
Other common causes of a cough include:
- Sinus infection
- Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD)
- Many other causes including cancer
You can also develop a persistent cough if you have gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), a condition that causes the acids in your stomach to flow back into your esophagus, irritating the lining of your throat.
How is a cough diagnosed?
The Advanced Allergy & Asthma specialists can often pinpoint the cause of a chronic cough by reviewing your medical history and any other symptoms you’re experiencing.
To confirm or rule out underlying respiratory health issues, your Advanced Allergy & Asthma doctor may request imaging tests, like a chest X-ray or a CT scan, to check for abnormalities in your lungs or airways, access acid reflux or sinusitis.
You may also need a lung function test, like spirometry, which measures how much air you can move in and out of your lungs in a certain period of time.
How is a cough treated?
Find the cause and treating a cough depends on the root cause of your condition. Your Advanced Allergy & Asthma specialist creates a treatment plan based on your needs and focuses on the long-term control of your cough.
If you have a cough due to allergies or sinus infection, you may need over-the-counter or prescription medicines. It’s also important that you drink water to stay hydrated and reduce the irritation in your throat.
When a chronic cough and wheezing are caused by asthma, your doctor can recommend asthma medications to reduce inflammation in your airways.
If home remedies aren’t enough to control your cough, schedule an evaluation at Advanced Allergy & Asthma today using the online booking feature or by calling the office.