Incessant coughing that disrupts someone’s daily activities can be quite annoying for anyone who has dealt with it. Many factors can lead to a cough becoming chronic. Often, a diagnosis can come from the symptoms alone or a procedure as simple as allergy skin testing.
What Is A Chronic Cough?
A chronic cough tends to be defined as a type of cough that lasts for six months or longer. It can lead to sleep deprivation, make a person feel exhausted and normal activities can become taxing.
Many factors lead to an incessant cough including:
- postnasal drip
- sinus problems
- gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD)
What Symptoms Can Accompany A Chronic Cough?
A stuffy or runny nose may happen in conjunction with an annoying cough, which may give the feeling of liquid going down the back of one’s throat.
A person may cough repeatedly when clearing their throat or feel as if they have a sore throat. They might experience hoarseness, wheezing or even shortness of breath. In someone cases, one might acquire a sour taste in their mouth when coughing.
How Is Chronic Coughing Diagnosed?
If you’re worried about chronic coughing, visit your primary physician first. However, most doctors send them to a specialist or possibly a chronic cough treatment center.
They may look to do imaging tests. For example, X-rays might reveal a reason for this particular cough. It might be due to postnasal drip, asthma or even acid reflux. There’s also a CT scan a physician might complete. The scan will determine if there is an infection in a patient’s sinus cavity.
Lung function tests check for asthma. Allergy skin testing might also be done to rule out types of allergies.
How Is It Treated?
There are medications and lifestyle changes that can help this type of burdensome cough. Your doctor might recommend decongestants, antibiotics, acid blockers or cough suppressants. You should avoid allergens that cause unpleasant symptoms. Also stop smoking and take steps to reduce the risk of acid reflux.
Whether a patient goes to a chronic cough treatment center or their primary care physician, it is important to have the condition checked to rule out any serious conditions that could be associated with a long-term cough.
If you would like more information on this topic or would like to make an appointment to discuss your personal situation with one of our Board Certified allergists please call us today!
Recently updated. Originally published June 27, 2014.