Got a persistent cough that won’t go away? A cough could just be a sign that you have too much mucus in your system, often as the result of a cold. However, in other cases, it could be a sign of something more serious – especially if you’ve had it for over three weeks. On top of this, a persistent cough could lead to other issues if not treated. Here are just several reasons why you shouldn’t ignore a persistent cough.
It could be a sign of an infection
A persistent cough could be more the common cold – it could be a chest infection. Wheezing, chest pain and thick mucus could all be other signs that this is the case. Ignoring an infection could make it worse. The constant coughing could even spread the infection to your throat.
Chest infections are generally easy to treat. It’s worth visiting a doctor – they may decide to prescribe antibiotics, which could help clear it up. Getting plenty of rest and drinking lots of water could help to shake off the infection. Meanwhile, drinking hot lemon and taking painkillers may be able to get rid of any pain.
It could be a sign of a respiratory disease
The most serious possibility could be a respiratory disease. A persistent cough can be a symptom of COPD, bronchitis or even lung cancer. Usually, if it is one of these more serious diseases, you’ll notice that coughing develops over a much longer period. You may also have noticed that breathing has been getting gradually more difficult. Such lung conditions tend to be most common among smokers, however, non-smokers can also develop them.
Seeing a doctor could help to confirm that it is one of these lung diseases. This may involve taking x-rays or blood tests. Such conditions are all curable if caught early enough. Giving up bad habits like smoking may be advised to help your lungs heal.
It could be affecting your sleep quality
Are you walking up in the night coughing or struggling to get to sleep because of a hacking cough? A persistent cough can affect many people’s sleep quality. This itself can prevent you from making a recovery – it is when we are asleep that our body does most of its healing. While you are worn down by illness, a lack of sleep could also further reduce your immune system, leaving you susceptible to other bugs.
Getting your cough checked out and treated could be important for helping you sleep well again. While getting treated, you can meanwhile try tricks such as sleeping with extra pillows and sleeping on your side. Enjoying a hot shower or bath before bed could also help to clear your airways so that you’re less congested before bed and less likely to suffer a coughing fit.
It could lead to chronic muscle pain
Coughing can put a strain on your chest muscles. If you’re constantly coughing, you could find that these muscles start to ache. This could add to the discomfort of having a cough.
If you’ve already started to develop muscle cramps, consider taking painkillers and try to get lots of rest. Getting treatment for your cough could be what is needed to fully help your chest muscles recover.
It could lead to a hernia
Many people with a persistent cough have been known to develop hernias. This is when internal organs are pushed out of place, often resulting in lumps around the abdomen that can be painful to touch. If left untreated, hernias can grow and become more uncomfortable and unsightly.
If you already have a hernia, it could be worth talking to a doctor. Hernia repair is a common procedure and may be recommended. Treating your cough meanwhile prevent your hernia from getting any worse while you wait for surgery.
You could damage your diaphragm
When we cough, the diaphragm is pushed forcibly up into the ribs. This can cause damage to the diaphragm over time. Some people have even been known to suffer ruptured diaphragms from coughing.
Sharp abdominal pain and trouble breathing can be signs that your diaphragm is damaged. A ruptured diaphragm needs to be treated fast as it could lead to organs herniating into the chest cavity. Treating a cough meanwhile could be a necessity for ensuring that your diaphragm heals.
You could even crack a rib
Some people have been known to crack ribs simply by coughing. A bad cough can be enough to push the diaphragm up into the ribs and cause a fracture. It is much more common for women to suffer this as they tend to have more fragile bones.
If you think you’ve cracked a rib, it could be essential that you see a doctor. To help your rib heal, curing the cough could be paramount.
The longer your cough goes untreated, the more likely you are to pass it on
If the cough is due to a bug or an infection, it’s possible that you could pass it on to someone else just by coughing. Getting treatment as soon as possible helps to stop the spread of the disease. While you may think that you’re being considerate by sucking it up and ignoring it, you could, in fact, be having the opposite effect by not looking into treatment.
Newly middle-aged wife of 1, Mom of 3, Grandma of 2. A professional blogger who has lived in 3 places since losing her home to a house fire in October 2018 with her husband. Becky appreciates being self-employed which has allowed her to work from 'anywhere'. Life is better when you can laugh. As you can tell by her Facebook page where she keeps the humor memes going daily. Becky looks forward to the upcoming new year. It will be fun to see what 2020 holds.