What is a cough?
A Cough is our body’s way of responding to particles that is irritating our throat or our airways. An irritant (solid, liquid or gas) stimulates the tissue around it which in turn activates the nerve receptors to send signal to the brain to expel air from lungs in order to force out the irritant. An occasional cough is normal and healthy. A cough that persists for more than 2 weeks, has secretions, is accompanied by discolored sputum may indicate a condition that needs immediate medical attention.
Persistent vigorous coughing can cause secondary complications like vomiting, headache, backache, chest ache, throat ache, hypoxia, blood in cough etc.
The common causes of cough are as follows:
- Common Cold
- Inhaling an irritant
- Whooping cough
- Allergic rhinitis
- GERD(GastroEsophageal Reflux Disease)
- Food choking
- Throat tumors
- Pleural effusion
- Pulmonary disorders
- COPD (Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disorder)
- Heart failure
When to see a doctor?
Seek immediate medical help if Cough is persistent for more than 2 weeks, the sputum is thick, greenish-yellow, if you have associated wheezing, if you experience shortness of breath,If you encounter fever intermittently.
What are the types of Cough?
Dry cough: When an individual experiences cough with no secretion. Very rarely the cough worsens to cause blood tinged sputum.
Cough with Sputum: This is the normal cough that one undergoes while experiencing cold, fever and flu like symptoms
Whooping cough: It is a severe hacking cough that ends with a whooping sound while breathing
Exercise Cough: Asthmatics, while engaging in physical activity experience cough induced by exercise. It resembles gasping rather coughing.
GERD Cough: It is caused by the backflow of acid from the stomach. It is very short and involves hoarseness of the individual’s voice.
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