Cough: When Should You Get Serious And Be Concerned

Cough, especially if you’ve had it for several weeks or more, is worth checking out. It could be brought on by a cold, allergy, digestive issue, or a disease. Most of the time, it’s nothing serious, but some symptoms will tell you when you should get medical attention.




Cough Causes: Air Pollution

Air that’s polluted with chemicals like sulfur dioxide or nitric oxide can trigger a cough. Mold and dust can do the same. Use special filters on your air-conditioning unit or wear a mask on your face when you go outdoors may help.


Common Cold

It’s caused by a virus that gets in through your mouth, eyes, or nose from tiny droplets in the air. You can catch it from a sick person’s cough or sneeze, or through touch. In addition to the runny nose and sneezing fits it brings on, a cold also can get in your airway and make you cough. It usually runs its course in a week or so, but visit a doctor if it lasts for more than 2 weeks.



Like a cold, the flu virus infects your throat, nose, and lungs. You get it when sick people sneeze or cough into the air around you or you touch something they touched. Generally, the flu makes you feel worse than a cold. It’s more likely to give you a high fever and chills, and less likely to cause sneezing and a runny nose.


Postnasal Drip

When your body makes too much mucus, it drips down the back of your throat and can trigger coughs. Lots of things can cause it, including infections or allergies. Antibiotics will work. Allergies can be managed with lifestyle changes, medication, or allergy shots.



This happens when your airways narrow and swell. It can make it hard to breathe, and you may cough up mucus. Triggers include pollen, dust, smoke, exercise, cold air, the common cold, and even stress. Medications may help.


Cough: Acute Bronchitis

An infection of your throat-nose-lung area makes your bronchial tubes inflamed. It usually gets better within a few days, but you may have a cough that brings up a thick, colored mucus for a couple of weeks. If that doesn’t go away or keeps coming back, you may have chronic bronchitis. Get medical attention immediately.


Gastro Reflex

Gastro reflex can bring on a dry cough. You usually can manage it with lifestyle changes and over-the-counter medications. But if you have a severe case, you may need prescription drugs or surgery.


Cough: Pneumonia

When bacteria or a virus or fungus infects your lungs, they make the air sacs inside fill with fluid or pus. That causes a cough with thick mucus. You’re also likely to have fever, chills, and trouble breathing. Treatments may include antibiotics (if it’s caused by bacteria), cough medicine, and drugs that help with fever and pain.


Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease

This is the name for a group of conditions, including emphysema and chronic bronchitis, that cause breathing problems. The tiny air sacs in your lungs get damaged or irritated, and that makes it hard for air to flow through. Treatment depends on the cause, but your doctor may give you medication and recommend lifestyle changes, like not smoking.


Lung Cancer

A cough, especially one that brings up blood, can be a sign of lung cancer. But noticeable changes such as “smoker’s cough”, can be a symptom of chest pain, headache, wheezing, and trouble breathing. Treatments for lung cancer may include radiation, chemotherapy, and surgery.