When to See Your Doctor About Your Cough

Do you have a cough that you just can’t get rid of? Learn about your cough here and get a comprehensive pulmonary eval today! 

Coughing is a reflex or a spontaneous response by your body. When mucus, germs, and dust irritate the throat/airway, your body will automatically respond by coughing. Like other reflexes (sneezing or blinking), coughing helps protect your body.

A cough is a common symptom seen in clinical practice and affects 10% of the population. It is important to know how we classify a cough and when to see your doctor.

Time Classification:

Acute cough: days to 3 weeks

Sub-acute cough: 3 to 8 weeks

Chronic cough: longer than 8 weeks

Quality Classification:

  • Productive cough: a cough that brings up phlegm

  • Dry cough: a cough that does not bring up phlegm

  • Nocturnal cough: a cough that occurs only at night

Risk factors for a cough:

  • Cigarette smoking/Vaping

  • Respiratory infection

  • Allergies

  • Environmental Irritants (chemicals, pollution, etc…)

  • Chronic lung diseases (Asthma, COPD, or emphysema)

Immediately call 911 if you experience a sudden onset of a cough associated with the following:

  • Difficulty breathing

  • Hives/Swelling of the face

  • Chest pain/discomfort

  • Hemoptysis

Living with a cough is a very common symptom of daily living. Most individuals have episodes of coughing throughout their lives. However, a persistent cough can be very disrupting to normal daily activities. At Prana Health we are here to treat your chronic cough, and get you back to feeling your best!

Dr. Rahul Kakkar is a certified pulmonologist, making him and his team ideal providers in determining the factors that are affecting your health. 

Causes of chronic cough:

  • COPD

  • Asthma

  • Medications

  • Chronic lung infections

  • Lung cancer

How serious is a cough?

A cough can be the only symptom of a serious illness, or it can be present with other symptoms affecting the lungs, heart, stomach, and nervous system. 

Complications of a cough:

  • Loss of consciousness

  • Bradycardia/tachycardia

  • Headaches

  • Seizures

  • Inguinal hernia

  • Urinary incontinence

  • Exacerbation of asthma

  • Decreased quality of life

Common procedures performed to identify chronic cough:

  • Pulmonary function testing (PFT)

  • Methacholine challenge

  • Cardiopulmonary exercise testing

  • Nasal endoscopy

  • Allergy testing