What comes to mind when you first notice that you have developed a cough? You’re probably thinking that it’s the first sign of a cold and it very well could be, but actually, this is just one of the issues that cause coughing. If your cough disappears after a couple of days or even a few weeks, it may not be a major issue, and it will probably barely cross your mind. Particularly if it arrives in the middle of cold and flu season. But what if instead it occurs randomly and lasts for weeks or even months. Now, you might be a little more worried and perhaps even starting to think about some of the more serious diagnosis. How likely are these to be what’s causing your cough. Let’s start with some simple advice.
Don’t Check The Internet
This is advice that should be taken every time you have a medical symptom, and you don’t know the cause. Why? There are plenty of sites online that have a variety of causes for different symptoms including the typical cough. The problem is that most of these resources are not run by a doctor or even someone who is medically trained. Due to this, the information can be both vague and worrying. This is the last thing you want because before long you will have diagnosed yourself with a highly rare and even fatal condition.
While the information might be right, there’s a reason why you need to go speak to a doctor. If we look at coughs as an example here, coughs can vary substantially. The time you have had it impacts what it could be as well as the type of a cough. A raspy, wheezing cough won’t be caused by the same issue that it is giving you a cough that causes you to choke up fem.
You might think that you are safe using an online doctor. But again, there isn’t typically any guarantee that these people are actually experts. If you want to wait a few weeks, by all means, contact an online Doc, but don’t use them for an official diagnosis. Always consult a professional in person.
When Do You Need To See The Doc?
So, you’ve got a cough? When exactly should you head to the doctors and get their expert opinion? As already stated most coughs will go away by themselves with or without treatment. In a couple of weeks, you’ll probably find that you are completely back to normal and if that’s the case, no treatment is necessary. At most, a cough should only last about three weeks. If it starts to continue beyond that, then this may be the time to visit a doctor.
However, you should make sure that you are trying solutions that you can buy from the pharmacy first. If you are hoping that the doctor is going to give you antibiotics to get rid of a cough more quickly, you might be disappointed. These days doctors are aware that patients are using antibiotics far too often. As such, they want to make sure not to dish them out unless absolutely necessary. And, a cough won’t be considered an emergency situation.
What Will A Doctor Do?
They’ll run some tests and make sure that there are no signs of a serious issue. They will start by listening to your chest. By doing this, they can make sure that your lungs sound nice and clear. If they say that your lungs are clear, this is a great sign, but don’t be surprised if the doctor does take extra measures as a precaution. They will typically check your throat to see if the lymph nodes are swollen and check for any blockages in your throat. These are fairly basic tests. If the doctor is worried that there could be an issue, they may send you for an X-ray. Private radiology clinics may be your best option here to make sure you don’t get stuck with a long wait. Typically hospitals are massively understaffed and don’t have the tech to ensure that wait times are kept low.
If the x-ray comes back clear, a doctor will try and diagnose the issue and move forward with treatment options.
What Is The Cause?
Again, it depends how your cough is presenting itself. If it is common at night or when you are lying down, it could be night asthma. This is completely treatable and is nothing to worry about it.
If it is triggered in a certain environment such as your home, it’s possible that it could be an allergic reaction. This would explain why your cough has lasted for longer than they typically do.
People are often worried if there is blood or the taste of blood when they cough, however this is surprisingly normal. Indeed, blood can be due to the fact that you’re coughing so violently you are damaging your throat, or it can come from the nose. It is only a worrying sign if you are coughing up blood in large quantities to the point where it is spilling out your mouth.
Another possible cause would be a recurring viral or chest infection. These can last for months and will cause heavy coughing. Though, they will usually present with other symptoms as well and a general feeling of un-wellness.
Coughing can even be linked to high levels of stress in your life. If you find that the coughing stops once you calm down, this could be the cause.
On rare occasions coughing will be one of the early signs of cancer however it cannot be stressed how rare this actually is. Particularly if you don’t smoke. If you are a non-smoker, it’s highly unlikely that a cough will be a sign of cancer and if it is, then there will usually be other signs such as weight loss.
We hope this helps shed some light on some of the possible causes of your cough and helps you realize why you shouldn’t jump to any conclusions. Nine times out of ten, even a long-lasting cough won’t mean a serious health issue.