Why Do We Cough?
A cough, or tussis, is a voluntary or involuntary reaction to something that irritates your throat or airways. Coughs are a common occurrence and are often healthy when they occur occasionally. A coughs that persists or joins other symptoms such as mucus or phlegm, wheezing or shortness of breath may require medical attention. Symptoms and severity of coughs vary based on the underlying cause of your cough.
Causes for Cough
A cough is often a symptom that is present with many sicknesses and conditions. A persistent cough may be a symptom of a more serious medical condition that requires medical attention.
- Common cold
- Influenza (flu)
- Whooping cough
- Acid reflux
- Postnasal drip
- Gastroesophageal reflux diseases (GERD)
- Cystic fibrosis
- Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD)
- Coronavirus (COVID-19) – for more information, click here
Types of Cough
Coughs can affect people of all ages. Differences in cough, such as characteristics, duration, severity and accompanying symptoms can help you or your provider determine the cause and best course of treatment.
- Wet cough – accompanied by mucus or phlegm that sounds low or heavy
- Dry cough – hacking that is not accompanied by mucus or phlegm
- Whooping cough – violent, causing lungs to you to gasp at the loss of oxygen
- Bloody cough – mucus or phlegm that presents blood
- Burning cough – burns the throat or chest
Symptoms of Cough
Cough symptoms vary depending on the underlying cause. Accompanying signs and symptoms that may be present with cough include:
- Runny, stuffy nose
- Sore throat
- Wheezing or shortness of breath
- Throat clearing
- Chest pain
- Mucus and phlegm
Based on the cause of your specific cough, several treatments can help you treat your symptoms.
Types of treatment
- Over-the-counter cough or cold medication
- Cough drops
- Drink more fluids
- Drink tea
- Use a humidifier
- Avoid irritants (smoke, dust, chemicals, etc.)
When to Seek Medical Care
If you (or your child) have tried self-treatment, or are experiencing worsening or persisting symptoms, call your doctor.
Contact your doctor if you or your child:
- Have symptoms that persist longer than a few weeks
- Are short of breath
- Have a fever
- Are wheezing
- Experience phlegm that is thick or greenish-yellow
Seek immediate care if you or your child:
- Have chest pain
- Are choking or vomiting
- Experience difficulty breathing or swallowing
- Cough up blood or bloody phlegm
What should you do if you have Flu or COVID-19 symptoms?
Because flu and COVID-19 symptoms are so similar, it is important you self-isolate for at least 14 days, outside from seeking medical care. If you live with others, even pets, you should try to find an area of the home, away from others, where you can quarantine. Learn more about the steps you can take if you have COVID-19 symptoms.
Help for Cough at Bronson
Coughs are a common condition and can appear with seasonal sicknesses or be a symptom of a chronic condition. Working with your doctor can help manage your symptoms or condition, reduce the risk of complications and prepare you for what to do in an emergency.
If you have a cough that you are concerned about or that is causing discomfort, you can rely upon your local care team at Bronson to provide the relief you need.
- Contact your Primary Care Provider
- Current patients can schedule in-person or video visit appointments by calling the office.
- Scheduled Video Visit: Bronson primary care—and many specialty care appointments—can now be done online using the Bronson MyChart App.
- Find a Doctor: Looking for a Primary Care Provider? Find a doctor and schedule online or by calling (269) 341-7788.
- On Demand Video Visit
- If you need help, whether you’re at home, at work or traveling, you can connect face-to-face with a Bronson doctor. Use anywhere you have an internet connection and a smart phone, tablet or computer.