Chronic (persistent) cough: duration, causes, symptoms, treatments | The USA Print

Your dry or oily cough persists, and signs? If it lasts more than eight weeks, regardless of the type of cough, it is called chronic, or persistent cough. Why does this cough refuse to leave you? How find some respite and relieve it quickly? Our answers.

Definition: what is a chronic cough? How long does it last?

As a reminder, cough is a symptom (not a disease) common to many pathologies. This is’a natural defensive reflex that allows us to expel mucus or irritating agents from our respiratory tract.

Acute, subacute or chronic cough: what are the differences?

We are talking about chronic cough when the cough lasts more than eight weeks. Two other types of cough are distinguished:

  • If the cough lasts less than three weeks, it is called an acute cough.
  • And if the cough lasts between three and eight weeks, it is called subacute cough.

Due to its duration, chronic cough can physically affect patients. But she can also seriously disturb their social and professional life.

Persistent coughing spells, irritation, chest pain: what symptoms should alert?

In the long term, it is sometimes accompanied by several symptoms:

  • breathing difficulties, including shortness of breath ;
  • of the sleeping troubles (related to nocturnal coughing fits);
  • a significant fatigueor even exhaustion;
  • of the vomiting ;
  • a urinary incontinence during coughing fits;
  • a change in voice (more hoarse and congested);
  • of the chest pain due to force and regularity of cough;
  • etc

The psychological and social consequences of chronic cough

Beyond the uncomfortable physical symptoms, chronic cough also has a strong impact on the social and professional life of patients. Exhausted, at the end of their tether and sometimes in the grip of high anxietythey are extremely vulnerable.

Their chronic cough inevitably impacts their work (how to concentrate when you are overtaken all day by fatigue and headaches to which are added noisy episodes of coughing?), their social life (who wants to disrupt a play with his coughing fits for almost two hours?) and their family, love, sexual relationships, etc.

Causes: why am I coughing every day? What diseases can cause a chronic cough?

The causes of cough are many and can be multiple. Several diseases can cause an acute or hyperacute cough, including infectious diseases such as nasopharyngitis, bronchitis or angina. But the cough usually goes away quicklyonce the infection is overcome.

The most common causes of chronic cough are:

  • a rhinorrhea ;
  • a chronic bronchitis ;
  • a asthma ;
  • a allergy ;
  • a respiratory tract irritation that persists after a respiratory infection has resolved (post-infectious cough);
  • a chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD);
  • a gastroesophageal reflux (GERD).

Some less common (even rare) causes can also cause a persistent cough:

  • the taking irritating medications ;
  • a pneumonia ;
  • a tuberculosis ;
  • a lung cancer ;
  • or a fungal infection of the lungs (aspergilloma).

Chronic cough: when to worry?

If the cough lasts longer than three weeks and/or is accompanied by alarming symptoms (high fever, traces of blood in the sputum, respiratory distress, etc.) consult a doctor quickly.

The latter to question you, examine you and, if necessary, make you pass additional examinations such as spirometry, chest X-ray, etc.

Treatment: how to get rid of a chronic cough?

The management of a chronic cough involves the specific treatment of the underlying pathology : PPIs (proton pump inhibitors) in case of GERD, antihistamines in case of allergy, corticosteroids in case of chronic bronchitis, etc. Only said treatment can take a moment to act. In the meantime, if the symptoms are really too much to bear, the doctor can suggest several alternatives. If – only if – the cough is dry and disabling, he may prescribe cough syrups (which relieve the need to cough) in addition. Of the expectorant syrups (which help to excrete phlegm) can be prescribed in case of wet cough.

Other alternatives, such as cough drops or gumare also very popular but there is no convincing evidence of their effectiveness.

Respect barrier gestures to limit transmission!

To avoid infecting your loved ones, do not derogate from barrier gestures: cough promotes the spread of infectious secretions!

Cough and blow your nose into tissues or your elbow

When you sneeze or cough, remember to cover your mouth and nose with a disposable handkerchief (which you will therefore throw in a trash can). If you don’t have a handkerchief, cough or sneeze into your elbow.

Wash your hands regularly with soap

Ventilate and clean your interior regularly

Regularly clean the objects you use most often, such as your laptop, computer keyboard, door handles, remote controls, etc.

Also remember to ventilate your rooms at least once a day, 10 to 15 minutes.

Do not share your personal belongings and limit contact

Do we really need to remember it? Avoid sharing your personal belongings when you are sick: bath towels, toothbrush, cutlery, etc.

Also avoid contact with fragile people, the elderly, children and babies (no hugs, handshakes, etc.). If applicable, wear a mask and keep your distance.

How to naturally relieve a chronic cough?

Cough relief also requires concrete changes in our lifestyles:

  • Hydrate enough – and throughout the day;
  • Ventilate your interior at least ten minutes a day, morning and evening;
  • If necessary, use a air humidifier ;
  • Hold a temperature close to 19 degrees in your room and limit the heating there;
  • Blow your nose regularly using disposable tissues to evacuate problematic secretions;
  • Wash your nose several times a day using physiological serum, a solution of thermal water or sea water;
  • Limit smoking and contact with irritating substances : dust, fumes from paints, candles, etc. :
  • Rest as much as possible ;
  • etc

Many natural alternatives can relieve chronic cough:

  • Of the inhalations based on simple salt water, chamomile or eucalyptus;
  • embrocations with eucalyptus essential oil for example (massage on the thorax or upper back);
  • Honey consumption, antibacterial and anti-inflammatory. Remember to add some to sweeten your dishes and drinks;
  • Herbal teas, infusions and teas (with strong moisturizing power).
  • essential oils thyme, niaouli, eucalyptus, peppermint or ravintsara. Note: the use of essential oils is not recommended in certain cases (in infants under 36 months and pregnant women). Always seek the advice of a healthcare professional first.

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