An article I recently read on CNN Health.com cites eight possible culprits for a chronic cough, (a cough lasting longer than eight weeks), among non-smokers. While none of the culprits are terribly shocking, pulling these causes together can be very helpful for those suffering from an undiagnosed chronic cough. If you're ready to investigate here's a good place to start:
Asthma and Allergies - Both very common causes of coughing, the two can be intrinsically linked. Many asthma sufferers cite allergies as a trigger for asthma symptoms. While a physician is needed to diagnose your cough you may want to try an OTC allergy medication such as Benadryl, Claritin, or, Zyrtec.
Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease - Also called COPD this disease can be caused by smoking and includes emphysema. It is also responsible for bronchitis.
Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease - GERD occurs when acid from the stomach spills up into the esophagus. It becomes worse at night because the gravitational pull of lying down makes it easier for stomach acid to come up the esophagus and into the back of the throat. This can cause sore throats and coughing.
Upper Respiratory Tract Infection - This is actually just a fancy term for common illness such as the cold and flu. Sometimes these illnesses can turn into something more severe - pneumonia.
Air Pollution - This can occur outside of the home as fumes from exhaust and other impurities in the air can irritate your lungs. It can also occur in the home from molds and spores.
Blood Pressure Medications - A dry cough can be a side effect of medications called ACE inhibitors which lower your blood pressure.
Whooping Cough - This has been a hot topic of conversation lately because this disease, also called pertussis, has made a comeback. Children are routinely vaccinated for whooping cough. However, it has recently been discovered that immunity only lasts about ten years. I know two adults who have recently suffered from whooping cough. An adult vaccination is available and a major concern has been that the adult population can pass whooping cough on to infants.
All of these illnesses can have severe consequences if left untreated. It's important to see a physician as soon as possible before the illness develops into something more serious.
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