If you have a cough, it’s pretty common during this time of year. A lot of people are sick and catching viruses, but it can be difficult to know if your case is more serious.
Most people can manage coughs at home on their own, and coughs usually go away within a couple of weeks. But sometimes, your case may turn more serious and require medical attention.
Here at Cermak Immediate Care, Ruchir Thakkar, DO, and our team explain the signs of when you should schedule an appointment with us about your cough.
How to manage coughs at home
When you have a cough – even a bad one – you can usually manage it at home. Some of the self-care measures for managing coughs include:
- Sucking on cough drops or hard candies (not for children younger than age 6 due to choking risk)
- Moisturize the air with a humidifier
- Drink warm liquids, such as lemon juice, tea, or lemon juice
- Consider taking a spoonful of honey (again, not for young children)
- Avoid cigarette smoke, as it can irritate your throat
Sometimes, a cough may go away on its own within a few weeks, but if it doesn’t, you should contact our team.
When your cough needs medical attention
Signs that a cough has turned more serious include:
- Coughing up green phlegm or blood
- Dizziness, especially after a coughing fit
- Shortness of breath
- Unexplained weight loss
If you suffer from any of these symptoms, reach out to our team as soon as possible. Your cough may be due to a different cause, which can only be diagnosed by a medical professional.
Other causes of persistent coughs
You may have a persistent cough for other reasons, which include:
Lower respiratory infections
If your cough turns into a lower respiratory infection, you need antibiotics. Some of these infections can develop into chronic bronchitis or pneumonia, which don’t go away on their own.
Your cough may be a symptom of asthma instead. Asthma makes it harder to breathe and may cause chest pain and wheezing. Fortunately, we have treatments for asthma to help you feel better soon.
Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD)
Your cough may also be a symptom of GERD. This disease can cause other symptoms, like heartburn, pain that worsens when lying down, and nausea or vomiting. Though GERD can’t be cured, we can recommend lifestyle changes to help you manage it or prescribe medications to treat it.
If you have a cough that continues longer than three weeks, we can help. If you have other symptoms, such as fainting, coughing up blood, or unexplained weight loss, don’t delay making your appointment. Contact us at Cermak Immediate Care today or request an appointment online.