Chronic Cough Definition, Reason, Symptoms, Treatment & Prevention

Chronic Cough Definition, Reason, Symptoms, Treatment & Prevention

A chronic cough is a cough that lasts for a long time. Usually, the duration of the cough is up to one or two months more.

Chronic Cough Definition

A chronic cough is a cough that lasts for a long time. Usually, the duration of the cough is up to one or two months more.

A cough is basically a symptom of a disease. This condition is the body’s reflex to clear the airways of mucus or other irritating materials – such as dust or smoke. This cough reflex is a normal reaction and a sign that the body is functioning properly.

When a dry cough occurs, the throat usually feels itchy even though there is no phlegm (thick mucus). Meanwhile, coughing up phlegm means there is a production of phlegm which actually functions to clear the airways.

Chronic Cough Reason

There are many things that can cause a chronic cough to occur. Some of them are:

  • Chronic respiratory infections such as chronic bronchitis
  • Asma
  • Allergy
  • Smoking
  • Bronchiectasis (damage and abnormal dilation of the large airways)
  • Postnasal drip (excessive mucus that builds up in the back of the throat)
  • GERD
  • Side effects of drugs such as ace-inhibitor types of drugs for high blood pressure problems
  • Cystic fibrosis in children (a type of genetic disorder that makes the mucus in the body sticky. Cases are rare)

In certain cases, a chronic cough can be a symptom of a more serious health condition such as lung cancer, heart failure, pulmonary embolism or tuberculosis. Therefore, don’t underestimate a cough that doesn’t go away or that gets worse.

Chronic Cough Symptoms

Chronic cough is a symptom and usually not the only symptom. There are accompanying symptoms that can indicate the cause, such as:

  • Chronic bronchitis: a productive cough with yellow-gray or greenish mucus that lasts for three months a year and can occur for at least two years in a row.
  • Postnasal drip: mucus from the back of the nose to the throat due to rhinitis (inflammation of the lining of the nose) or sinusitis.
  • Asthma: shortness of breath and difficulty breathing with a clicking or wheezing sound
  • Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease (GERD): tightness, heat, and burning sensation in the pit of the stomach and radiating to the chest.

Chronic Cough Diagnosis

To determine the diagnosis of chronic cough, the doctor will first find out the cause of the cough. Usually, the doctor will ask a person’s medical history and do a physical examination.

In addition, to get more detailed examination results, supporting examinations such as blood tests, allergy tests, chest X-rays, or analysis of sputum samples can be carried out.

Chronic Cough Treatment

The chronic cough will not stop if the origin of the cause is not treated. Consult a doctor immediately, especially if you experience the following:

  • the cough does not go away within 5–7 days even though you have taken over-the-counter cough medicine at the pharmacy.
  • the cough is very bad or is getting worse day by day.
  • coughing up blood or accompanied by shortness of breath or difficulty breathing or chest pain.
  • other worrying symptoms such as unwanted weight loss, voice changes, a lump or swelling in the neck

Medications used to treat coughs can vary greatly, depending on the cause. Some of them are treatments:

  • Asthma with steroids to prevent relapse
  • Allergy to anti-allergic drugs and steroids
  • Bacterial infection with antibiotics
  • GERD with antacids
  • COPD (Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease) with bronchodilators or other types of drugs to improve the capacity of the lungs to absorb oxygen.

Chronic Cough Prevention

Usually, chronic cough cannot be completely cured because of chronic accompanying diseases. For this reason, lifestyle changes that support general health and relieve cough symptoms need to be made, such as:

  • Eat healthy foods so that the body has the resistance to help prevent lung infections.
  • A light and regular exercise so that the body weight is stable and the respiratory system is trained. Being overweight puts a strain on the respiratory system, which makes breathing even more difficult. Exercise will train the lungs and heart to work more efficiently and optimally.
  • Avoid smoky fog environment.
  • Stop smoking and avoid passive smoking as much as possible. Exposure to cigarette smoke as a passive smoker is now known to be just as dangerous as an active smoker.
  • Avoiding allergens or materials or environments that may be triggers for allergic symptoms in your body.
  • Increase the body’s resistance to avoid flu or colds.

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