Coughs Treatment Online

What are coughs?

Coughs are irritating but they serve a purpose. A cough is a sudden, forceful hacking sound that releases air and clears an irritation in the throat or airway. The irritant stimulates the nerves in your throat which send messages to the brain. The brain then tells muscles in your chest and abdomen to push air out of your lungs to force out the irritant.

Occasional coughing (acute) is normal and healthy for you. However, a cough that lingersBut chronic coughs might be a sign of a more serious disease such as lung cancer or pneumonia. You should visit your online doctor or healthcare provider for persistent coughing.

What causes coughs?

There are many factors that can cause coughing. Some external factors that can cause coughing are exposure to various air pollutants and irritants. There are also several diseases that can cause a cough such as:

  • Emphysema
  • Heart failure
  • Laryngitis
  • Lung cancer
  • Medications called angiotensin-converting enzyme (ACE) inhibitors
  • Neuromuscular diseases that weaken the coordination of upper airway and swallowing muscles
  • Pulmonary embolism (blood clot in an artery in the lung)
  • Respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) — especially in young children
  • Sarcoidosis (collections of inflammatory cells in the body)
  • Tuberculosis
  • Common cold
  • Influenza (flu)
  • Pneumonia
  • Whooping cough
  • Allergies
  • Asthma (most common in children)
  • Bronchitis
  • Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD)
  • Postnasal drip
  • Acute sinusitis (nasal and sinus infection)
  • Bronchiectasis (a chronic lung condition in which abnormal widening of bronchial tubes inhibits mucus clearing)
  • Bronchiolitis (especially in young children)
  • Choking: First aid (especially in children)
  • Chronic sinusitis
  • COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease) exacerbation — worsening of symptoms
  • Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19)
  • Croup (especially in young children)
  • Cystic fibrosis

What are the symptoms of coughs?

Not all coughs are the same - and sometimes other symptoms accompany a cough such as:

  • A runny, stuffy nose
  • A feeling of liquid running down the back of your throat (postnasal drip)
  • Frequent throat clearing
  • Sore throat
  • Hoarseness
  • Wheezing and shortness of breath
  • Heartburn
  • A sour taste in your mouth
  • Coughing up blood (rarely)

Treatment for coughs

There are some treatments that should ease and treat a cough. But remember, chronic coughing needs to be investigated by a healthcare professional who will develop a treatment plan.

Here are some treatments available for both OTC (over-the-counter) and prescription use:

  • Inhaled asthma drugs. The most effective treatments for asthma-related cough are corticosteroids and bronchodilators, these reduce inflammation and open airways.
  • Antibiotics. If a bacterial, fungal or mycobacterial infection is causing your chronic cough, your doctor may prescribe antibiotics to address the infection.
  • Acid blockers. When lifestyle changes don't take care of acid reflux, you may be treated with medications that block acid production. Surgery may be needed to resolve the problem.
  • Antihistamines, corticosteroids and decongestants. These drugs help treat allergies and postnasal drip.

Whenever taking any medication, it is best to follow the directions on the label or by your primary doctor. Never take medications for longer than the directions specify. Always consult with your primary care doctor for any questions you may have.

Home remedies and over the counter products for coughs

Some people swear by over the counter products or home remedies to ease a cough such as:

  • Drinking plenty of fluids
  • Using a cool-mist humidifier or vaporizer (to soothe an irritated throat and loosen mucus).
  • Having a little honey before bed or a spoonful during the day.
  • Sudafed (pseudoephedrine)-expectorant. These are good for “wet-coughs''.
  • Cough suppressants (Robitussin). These are good for “dry- coughs”.
  • Cough drops
  • Cough medicines (Mucinex). Good for both “wet and dry coughs”.
  • Gargling with salt water
  • Ginger
  • Pineapple juice
  • Peppermint
  • Thyme

When to seek medical help for a cough

You can usually treat a cough by yourself, without needing to see a primary care doctor. But you should contact your online doctor if you experience:

  • A deep cough with lots of mucus.
  • You have a fever that doesn’t go away after 3 days.
  • Your child has the chills or nighttime coughing fits.
  • You’re still coughing after three weeks without getting better.

Seek emergency help if you are:

  • Choking or vomiting
  • Struggling to breathe or swallow
  • Coughing up blood
  • Having chest pain

FAQs

How do I know if my cough is serious?

Speak to an online primary care doctor if you’ve had a cough for more than a few weeks. If you experience any of the following, you should see your emergency care doctor:

  • Coughing up blood
  • Coughing so hard you vomit.
  • Unexplained weight loss.
  • Difficulty breathing/shortness of breath.
  • Shallow, rapid breathing.
  • Wheezing.
  • Chest pain.

What kind of cough is Covid?

Most people with COVID-19 have a dry cough they can feel in their chest. If you think you have Covid-19, self-isolate and contact one of our online doctors for advice.

What should I do to stop coughing?

Home remedies such as gargling with salt water, drinking plenty of fluids and honey, ginger and pineapple juice may relieve your cough. You can also try cough drops or medicines such as Sudafed, Robitussin and Mucinex from your pharmacist.

How long is too long for a cough to last?

A persistent cough that lasts longer than 8 weeks after the initial illness is a potential warning sign of something more serious and you should seek medical attention.

Can coughing damage your lungs?

No. Coughing will not damage your lungs, in fact, coughing is a natural reflex that helps clear the airways and removes irritants like mucus and dust from the lungs.

When should I worry about a cough?

You should contact your doctor If your cough doesn’t go away after a few weeks or you cough up thick, greenish-yellow phlegm, you experience wheezing, or you have a fever.

Why can I not stop coughing?

The most common answer is that you may have a cold, the flu, or an infection, like bronchitis. If your cough accompanies any other symptoms that don’t clear up in a few weeks, then you should speak with your online doctor.

The information provided is for educational purposes only and is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Seek the advice of a doctor with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never delay seeking or disregard professional medical advice because of something you have read here.