Chronic cough that lasts for eight weeks or more can disrupt your sleep patterns and make you feel fatigues throughout the day due to lack of sleep. Severe causes may also involve vomiting, lightheadedness and rib fractures.
Although, it is usually difficult to determine the exact trigger of the cough, the problem is most commonly caused due to postnasal drip, tobacco use, acid reflux and asthma. Chronic sough usually disappears once the problem causing it has been treated.
Signs and symptoms
Signs and symptoms that may occur with chronic cough include:
- Stuffy or runny nose
- A feeling of liquid running down your throat
- Heartburn – sour taste in the mouth
- Shortness of breath and wheezing
- Coughing up blood, but only in rare cases
When to seek medical attention
See your doctor if chronic cough remains persistent or if you cough up sputum or blood or disturbs your sleep and affects daily activities.
Before considering treatment, it is important that you determine the cause of the chronic cough to find out what treatment method would be most effective for you. Sometimes, there is more than one condition that may contribute to the chronic cough.
Effective treatment methods involve the following medications for chronic cough:
- Antihistamines and decongestants. These are standard treatment methods for postnasal drip and allergies.
- Inhaled asthma drugs. If your chronic cough is associated with asthma, then inhaled medication may be effective in relieving cough by reducing the inflammation in the airways and widening them.
- Antibiotics. Sometimes bacterial infections may result in chronic cough, for which antibiotics are most likely to be prescribed by your doctor.
- Acid blockers. Acid blockers are taken if homecare remedies and lifestyle changes do not work in treating chronic cough. Acid blockers work by blocking the production of acids.
- Cough suppressants. If the underlying cause of the chronic cough cannot be identified, your doctor will prescribe cough suppressants – if the condition is interrupting daily activities, particularly your sleep.
In most cases, homecare treatment methods work best for treating chronic cough. Some popular treatment methods include:
- Stop smoking. Smoking is the most common cause of chronic bronchitis which results in chronic cough and worsens many other factors related to it as well.
- Avoid allergens. If chronic cough occurs as a result of nasal allergies, make sure you identify the trigger substances and avoid them to prevent symptoms
Minimize acid reflux. Acid reflux also causes coughing in many people. Acid reflux can be treated with lifestyle changes, such as by eating more frequent, yet smaller meals and eating 3 or more hours before sleeping or lying down. If chronic cough is worse at night or when you sleep, it may help to keep the head elevated by about 4 to 6 inches to reduce acid reflux.