Whenever you’re sick or your lungs become irritated, your body will react through coughing. This is your body’s way of defending itself by clearing out any allergens, mucus, or pollutants. Usually, a cough is an indication of a cold and tends to settle on its own within two to three weeks.
There are many types of cough and sometimes, a person may encounter one that lasts longer than usual. If you’re suffering from a stubborn cough, it can be quite frustrating as it can interfere with your daily routine.
Read on to figure out why your cough doesn’t seem to want to go away.
1. Failure to take medicine
Medication can help relieve coughs caused by bronchitis, common cold, and other breathing illnesses. For instance, expectorants and mucolytics can thin out mucus in the airways to make it easier for you to cough it up.
As long as you follow dosage instructions and recommendations from your doctor, taking medication can help you become better in no time.
Chronic stress can make colds stay longer. To avoid a lingering cough, relax and ease your stress level especially when you’re not feeling well. Don’t push yourself too hard as this will only cause your condition to get worse.
As much as possible, get enough rest to rejuvenate your body. Aim to get at least seven to eight hours of sleep every night.
3. Irritated airways following a cold or flu
A cough may continue to hang around for weeks after a cold or viral infection. Even if the virus is gone, the virus has already caused your airways to become swollen and oversensitive. And since your airways are still irritated, your cough may linger for a few more days.
4. Not enough fluids
During a cold or flu, you have to drink more fluids than usual. Juice, soup, water, and other fluids can help loosen the mucus in your airways so that you can cough it out. However, avoid drinking alcohol and drinks containing caffeine as they can dehydrate you.
5. Germs lying around
It’s crucial that you make an effort to contain your germs when you feel sick. Keep a contagious cold from spreading by washing your hands and always covering your mouth and nose each time you cough or sneeze.
Without proper sanitation, your cold can spread around your house and workspace, then boomerang back to you. This will make you feel like you aren’t recovering from your cough at all since germs are still present.
If you continue to smoke, then don’t wonder why your cough seems to linger for longer. Smoking makes cold symptoms worse, irritating and damaging your lungs. Whenever you have a cold, your lungs are already irritated and you’re making things much worse by smoking.
Another important thing to remember is to stay away from people who smoke as well. Even if you’re not into that bad habit, secondhand smoke is just as irritating as and more dangerous than smoking in itself.
7. Dry air or too much moisture
Dry air is common during winter and can aggravate a cough. On the other hand, cranking up your humidifier won’t be helpful either. Moist air can trigger asthma and encourage the growth of allergens, dust mites, and mold.
Aim for humidity levels of about 40 to 50 percent inside your home during winter and summer.
Know when to seek help
If you feel healthy and your only symptom is a persistent cough, keep track of how long it lasts. Even if you avoid causes of cough, bear in mind that any cough that hangs around longer than eight weeks is a red flag. As soon as possible, schedule an appointment with your doctor if you have any of the following additional symptoms.
- Shortness of breath
- Excessive mucus
- Bloody mucus whenever you cough
- Weight loss
Coughs that last longer than normal may need diagnostic testing or prescription treatment. This way, your doctor can determine what’s happening in your respiratory system and administer proper medication.
Any health problem, even just a simple cold, should be dealt with correctly. Take medicine and follow your doctor’s advice to maintain good health. By all means, avoid self-diagnosing as you may be missing something that only a health professional can see.