Understanding chronic coughs

Coughs that persist for weeks or even months can have a significant impact on your quality of life. Chronic coughs can prevent you from going out, sleeping and just performing your normal everyday tasks. Understanding the nature of these persistent or chronic coughs is crucial in seeking appropriate treatment and relief. Here’s how to identify and manage a chronic cough.
What is a chronic cough?
A chronic cough is defined as a cough that lasts longer than eight weeks in adults and four weeks in children. Unlike the common cough associated with a cold or flu, which typically resolves within a week or two, a chronic cough persists and often requires medical attention to determine its cause.
What causes a chronic cough?
Chronic coughs can be attributed to a variety of factors. Some of the most common causes include:
• Postnasal drip: Mucus from the nose drips down the throat, leading to coughing to clear the mucus.
• Asthma: A cough linked to asthma can vary with the seasons, emerge following an infection in the upper respiratory tract, or intensify when exposed to cold air or specific chemicals or fragrances.
• Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD): Stomach acids backing up into the oesophagus can trigger a cough.
• Infections: A cough may persist even after other signs of pneumonia, flu, a cold, or other upper respiratory tract infections have subsided. Pertussis, commonly known as whooping cough, is a frequently overlooked reason for a long-lasting cough in adults. Additionally, chronic cough can be associated with fungal lung infections, tuberculosis (TB), or infections caused by nontuberculous mycobacteria in the lungs.
• Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD): Conditions like chronic bronchitis and emphysema, often related to smoking, can cause a persistent cough.
• Medications: Certain blood pressure medications, like Angiotensin-converting enzyme (ACE) inhibitors, can lead to a chronic cough.
There are other conditions that can cause chronic coughs, however, these are the most common causes.

When to seek medical attention if you have a chronic cough?
It is crucial to consult a healthcare provider if you experience:
• A cough lasting longer than 8 weeks.
• Accompanying symptoms such as shortness of breath, chest pain, or blood in the sputum.
Management and treatment:
Treatment for chronic coughs depends on the underlying cause of the cough. Some common approaches include:
• Treating postnasal drip with antihistamines or nasal sprays.
• Managing asthma with bronchodilators and steroids.
• Addressing GERD with lifestyle changes and acid-reducing medications.
• Quitting smoking and avoiding lung irritants if diagnosed with COPD.
• Changing ACE inhibitor medications if they are identified as the cause of the chronic cough.

Additionally, over-the-counter cough syrups, like Prospan Cough Syrup can be extremely helpful in treating certain coughs. Prospan’s clinically proven, unique 4-in-1 mechanism of action helps to thin and clear mucus from airways as well as reduces inflammation. Prospan Cough Syrup also reduces cough attacks by 75%.

Chronic coughs, while often manageable, should not be ignored. Understanding their causes, recognising when to seek medical help, and employing effective treatment strategies are key steps in managing this condition. Remember, it's essential to consult with healthcare provider for a proper diagnosis and treatment plan tailored to your specific needs.
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