Posted April 20, 2018
Over the course of a year, most adults have two to four colds, and children can have as many as 12. Nasal congestion often causes a persistent cough that lasts for a week or two. But if a cough continues for several weeks or a month, it may be a symptom of a more serious condition.
Here are seven reasons why you develop a chronic cough.
- Allergies– Sneezing, drippy nose and post-nasal drip from allergies can cause a persistent cough. If over-the-counter medications and nasal sprays don’t provide relief, contact your doctor’s office. You may need a stronger prescription medication.
- Asthma– Air pollution, pet dander, pollen, dust, smoke, chemicals, and stress can trigger an asthmatic reaction, giving you swollen and inflamed airways in the lungs. These symptoms can trigger a constant cough, which usually can be managed with prescription medications.
- Bronchitis – Several medical conditions can lead to an infection and cause a chronic or acute cough known as bronchitis. These conditions can include:
- Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD)–Commonly developed from smoking, second-hand smoke, or exposure to air pollution, chemical fumes or fireplace smoke.
- Pulmonary Fibrosis–It occurs most frequently in men who are former smokers. The body develops scars deep in the lung tissue that restrict the movement of oxygen into the bloodstream.
- Bronchiectisis–Middle-aged women who had a lung infection earlier in life, such as pneumonia, are more susceptible to developing bronchiectisis. With this condition, the airways cannot effectively remove mucus, which can lead to an infection.
- Reflux – This medical condition, known as Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease (GERD), can cause food particles in the stomach to flow back into the esophagus, especially during the night, causing heartburn and chronic cough. Medications and diet changes can provide relief.
- Tuberculosis – People from Latin America and the Middle East are at greater risk for developing tuberculosis, a contagious inflection that attacks the lungs. Those infected with the disease may cough up blood and experience night sweats. Doctors can treat tuberculosis with antibiotics taken over a period of several months.
- Lung Cancer – Generally caused by smoking, lung cancer also can affect nonsmokers and those exposed to second-hand smoke or radon gas. Often, symptoms such as a chronic cough that may produce blood, hoarseness, bone pain, shortness of breath, or wheezing may not become apparent until the disease is in an advanced stage.
- Heart failure – A common sign of heart failure is a chronic cough that is accompanied by one or more other symptoms, such as shortness of breath, nausea, fatigue, lightheadedness, rapid heartbeat or swelling.