Coughing is how the body removes mucus, dust, and other foreign particles from the lungs and airways or from irritation of the airway. According to the American Lung Association, occasional coughing is normal, but persistent cough or one that is accompanied by other symptoms might be a sign of a more serious condition. Manatee Urgent Care, located in Bradenton, Florida, can help determine the causes for numerous types of coughs.
Types of Coughs
Whether it is a cold symptom, chronic dry cough or even whooping cough, all coughs fall under the categories of productive and non-productive.
Productive coughs produce phlegm which may drain from the sinuses or come from the lungs. Productive cough can be caused by viral illness, bronchitis, sinusitis, pneumonia, tuberculosis, chronic lung disease (COPD, etc.), gastroesophageal reflux disease, nasal discharge (postnasal drip), and smoking. It should not be suppressed so the mucus is cleared from the lungs.
Nonproductive cough is dry and has no sputum production. Dry hacking cough can develop at the end of a cold or after exposure to smoke or dust. Dry cough can be caused by viral illnesses, bronchospasm (irritants or irritation of the airway), allergies, certain medications (such as ACE inhibitors), or asthma.
Why Am I Coughing?
- Upper respiratory tract infections: The most common cause of coughing related to illness are infections of the nose and throat. This is commonly associated with sore throats, fevers and runny noses. Infections of the nose and throat are the most common cause of coughing related to illness. Almost always caused by viruses, they are usually associated with fevers, sore throat and runny nose. To help avoid infections, the Center for Disease Control and Prevention recommends washing your hands after blowing your nose, coughing or sneezing.
- Hay fever (or allergic rhinitis): Usually associated with sneezing, a runny nose and a dry cough, hay fever often mimics the symptoms of a common cold. A common allergic condition that mimics the symptoms of a common cold.
- Inhalation of irritants: Exposure to fumes and vapors can cause a cough through inflammation of the throat and airway.
- Lower respiratory tract infections: These are more serious viral and bacterial infections that usually cause a deep, lingering cough and fever. They can affect the airways (bronchitis) or go further into the lungs (pneumonia).
- Pulmonary embolism: If you suspect a pulmonary embolism, call 9-1-1 or go to the nearest emergency room. A blood clot travels, usually from the legs, to the lungs, causing sudden shortness of breath and a dry cough that could lead to death.
- Lung collapse (or pneumothorax): A lung collapse is deflation of the lung and can be spontaneous or because of chest trauma. Signs of a collapsed lung include sudden chest pain, dry cough and shortness of breath.
- Heart failure: A build-up of fluid in the lung that causes coughing and shortness of breath could be a symptom of a weak or diseased heart.
- Postnasal drip: Starting as a dry cough, this usually stems from chronic dripping of mucus into the back of the throat. Coughing typically occurs after a recent infection or constantly being near an allergy trigger.
- Gastro-esophageal reflux (GERD): When stomach acid backs up into the esophagus, you might get acid-reflux or GERD which can cause coughing. If any cough is painful and persistent, it is important to seek medical attention immediately.
Urgent Care for Coughs
It’s crucial to accurately diagnose your cough and learn about the best way to treat it. If medical attention is needed for chronic coughing, an urgent care center can be the solution. Visiting an urgent care center for a cough may help quickly determine the cause.
Contact Us Now
Manatee Urgent Care, located in Bradenton, Florida, is open seven days a week with convenient daytime and evening hours for patients needing urgent care treatment. Manatee Urgent Care’s team of medical professionals are here to help with your cough.