Chronic Cough

What Is a Chronic Cough?

Some coughs may be the result of a common cold and go away within a few days, but others linger for a while. If your cough lasts for eight weeks or more, it is considered chronic. It isn’t just uncomfortable. It might also be a sign of a more serious condition.

If your cough lasts longer than a month, you should seek medical attention. At Charleston ENT & Allergy, we’ll determine what’s causing the cough and get you back to enjoying life without it.

Man at the pharmacy getting medication for a cough

What Causes Chronic Cough?

A cough usually results from something irritating your body’s airways. A chronic cough can be caused by a variety of factors, including:

  • Postnasal drip
  • Asthma
  • Allergies
  • Gastroesophageal reflux disease, or acid reflux
  • Upper respiratory tract infections
  • Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (includes bronchitis and emphysema)
  • Pertussis (whooping cough)
  • Air pollution
  • ACE inhibitors (found in some medications used to treat high blood pressure and heart disease)
  • A2RBs (Angiotensin Receptor Blockers)
  • Smoking

When Should I Seek Medical Attention?

Along with lasting a month or longer, if your cough interferes with your everyday routine or results in appetite loss, weight loss, night sweats or fatigue, you should also contact your doctor specializing in throat care.

Seek emergency treatment if you have a fever higher than 103°F, have chest pain, are coughing up blood or have difficulty breathing.

How Is a Chronic Cough Diagnosed?

Our provider will take the time to get to know you and how the cough is affecting your life. Along with taking your medical history, they’ll perform a head and neck exam. This process might include imaging tests and a laryngoscopy to examine your larynx, also known as your voice box.

How Do I Get Rid of a Chronic Cough?

Your doctor will guide you through this process. Specific treatment will depend on the cause of your cough, but our ENT will make sure you understand your condition and how to treat it.

Diet and lifestyle changes can often be effective in treating a chronic cough. Another option is medication, such as:

  • Antihistamines
  • Decongestants
  • Asthma drugs
  • Antibiotics
  • Acid blockers
  • Cough suppressants

We’re Here to Help

While some coughs are just a symptom of the common cold, others are potentially signs of something more serious. At Charleston ENT & Allergy, we can take the uncertainty out of this process and determine what’s causing your cough and how to best treat it. Contact us today to get started.