As we (finally) start to near the end of cold and flu season, many people will develop lingering chest congestion, and a cough. Coughing is our body’s way of trying to clear its airways. Some common causes of coughing include allergies, asthma, acid re-flux, dry air, and smoking. Coughing is a natural occurrence and is rarely the sign of anything serious. However, it could be an early warning, or a symptom of something worse to come.
What to do about a chronic cough?
Can I cure my cough at home?
It is not always possible to cure your chronic cough at home, simply because there may be a greater underlying cause. But here are a few methods that you can employ before seeking medical attention:
- Stay Hydrated
If your cough is the result of postnasal drip, you may be able to treat it be staying better hydrated. Postnasal drip is usually left behind by the flu or a cold, and is the mucus that drips down the back of our throats causing us to cough. By staying properly hydrated, we can thin out the mucus, and stop the need to cough.
- Take a steamy shower
Whether your cough is caused by the remnants of a cold, or even allergies, this method can help to relieve it. The steam created in the shower will effectively loosen, or break up the congestion in your nasal passages and relieve the pressure that causes you cough.
- Try a cough drop
This may seem like the most simple and obvious of methods, but don’t underestimate the effectiveness of it. What a cough drop will actually do is slightly numb the back of your throat, and calm your reflex to cough. Sometimes, after we’ve had a cough for a long period of time, that reflex becomes more and more sensitive.
- Clear the air
Sometimes, our cough is not caused by lingering illness, or a precursor to something more severe, but instead is because of an outside irritant. Is there a perfume, air freshener, fresh paint, or someone who smokes in the house? These may all be potential triggers for your cough.
When should I talk to a doctor about my cough?
The vast majority of coughs will clear up on their own within a few weeks; however, if the cough persists longer than three weeks, is really severe or gets progressively worse, it is now considered chronic and you should seek medical attention right away. This could be the beginnings of bronchitis, or worse, pneumonia. If you are coughing up thick mucus or experiencing other symptoms such as fever, chills, coughing up blood, or fatigue please contact a doctor immediately or come into urgent care.
If you can’t get rid of your cough, AFC Urgent Care Vernon welcomes you with no appointment necessary, to our walk-in clinic. We are located at 179 Talcottville Rd, Vernon, CT 06066 . We are also open 7 days a week Monday-Friday 8am-8pm and Saturday-Sunday 8am-5pm. We are staffed by licensed professionals, and we accept most insurances.