Check Up: Her cough will not go away

September 17, 2018

Dear Readers,

Marie writes Check Up from a Portmore address. She said she has lived there for five years now but started having a noticeable cough only a couple of months ago.

She also has sinus problems occasionally and has a drip at the back of her throat. She has received treatment for the sinuses but her cough still persists.

She asks Check Up, "What can she do about the cough?"

A chronic cough is one which lasts for more than eight weeks in an adult and more than four weeks in a child. It can be exhausting, especially if it interrupts sleep.

It can also cause vomiting and lightheadedness. It is sometimes difficult to find the cause, but there are some common conditions.

These are:

- Postnasal drip

- Asthma

- Tobacco use

- Acid Reflux

- Some antihypertensive medications

The good thing is that if these problems are properly treated the cough will disappear. Other symptoms of a chronic cough include:

- A Postnasal drip (liquid running down the back of the throat)

- A sore throat

- Frequent clearing of the throat

- Runny or stuffy nose

- Hoarseness

- Heartburn

- Wheezing and shortness of breath

A persistent cough is usually the result of a medical problem which needs your doctor's input, especially if your cough has lingered for weeks, disturbs your sleep or work, or is associated with blood-stained sputum repeatedly.

The majority of cases of chronic cough are caused by:

- Postnasal drip

- Asthma, which may be related to the seasons or occur after a viral flu or after exposure to chemicals and perfumes.

- Gastroesophageal reflux disease, where stomach acid can back flow up the oesophagus to the back of the throat and irritate the area, causing a recurring cough which is worse at night-time.

- Infections like flu, cold, pneumonia can be associated with a lingering cough after most all the other symptoms are gone.

- Chronic bronchitis.

- Several lung diseases, including lung cancer.

Other causes of a long-standing cough include stress, lack of fluids in your system, overuse of nasal decongestant sprays, and dust mites, moulds and allergens.

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