It was 3 am at night. Ajay removed the blanket and got down the bed slowly and steadily just at a snail’s pace. He opened the door of his bedroom and went downstairs covering his mouth with both his hands. He has been doing this almost every night after his wife goes to deep sleep so that he does not disturb her sleep. You must be wondering what exactly he does getting outside his room at this time of night??
Cough, cough cough!! He coughs his heart out.
Note: Excessive coughing at night could be a sign of heart disease. A thing to really worry about.
Its been a nightmare for Ajay almost everyday, especially at night. A dry, tickling sensation, almost like an itch inside wakes him up suddenly which makes him run to cough 20 times. This is quite painful and makes him wonder “Why isn’t my cough leaving me?” “Am I going to cough for the rest of my life?”
Do you also get such questions in your mind? Have you got a cough that is just not going and wondering why?
Here are a 9 top reasons why that dreaded cough is not going:
1. Allergens, allergens everywhere:
Sometimes a lingering cough might be caused or aggravated if you are exposed to some kind of allergens for a longer period of time. This is because allergens may irritate your respiratory tract, causing symptoms like sneezing, runny nose and coughing. So if you are allergic to something which is constantly present in your environment like dust, smoke, mold, pollens or any kind of chemicals, you might suffer from bouts of coughing.
Solution: “You should consult your doctor to find out the cause of allergy and then try your best to avoid getting exposed to that allergen”, says Dr. Vikram Jaggi, Director, Asthma Chest & Allergy Centre, Delhi & Gurgaon.
2. Symptoms from a recent cold or flu:
The symptoms of cold and flu can be seen as a sequential series of events. It starts with a sore throat and sneezing and progresses to a runny nose, fever and a nasty cough. So if you are going through the days of cold and flu, you will have a cough with thick and yellow mucus and when your cold starts to subside, it may transform into a dry cough which is annoying and sometimes adamant to leave you.
Solution: You can have over-the-counter cough syrup to expel out the mucus and ease the irritation in your airways. You can even try some evergreen home remedies of just having a hot herbal tea infused with the goodness of ginger and lemon.
3. Bacteria to blame:
When your respiratory tract becomes irritated and oversensitive due to illness, it also becomes an easy pathway for bacteria to enter and cause infections. Bacterial infections can cause a number of illness like pneumonia, bronchitis which causes a cough.
Solution: Consult a doctor as you may require taking an antibiotic.
4. When your nose produces excess mucus:
Your nose is more than the organ of smell. Wondering how? Lets put it in a simple way for you. The nose also acts as a gateway to your lower respiratory tract. So what exactly it does? The nasal membrane lining the nasal cavity conditions and purifies the air passing through and reaching the lungs. This is done by producing mucus that is moist and sticky.
But here lies the twist to the story! Although your nose protects the lungs, it is also subjected to its own problems. Allergens, viruses, bacteria and airborne pollutants and dust can irritate the nasal membranes to which the membranes respond by producing more mucus. But unlike normal mucus, this will be more watery and thin.
This mucus when drips out the nose give you a runny nose but when it drips down the throat, it tickles your respiratory tract triggering a cough.
Now you know why you cough excessively during cold and flu.
Solution: Try home remedies like inhaling steam which will help you clean nasal secretions. You can also purchase over-the-counter nasal sprays. But be very careful with the use of nasal spray as over-dose may lead to a dryness of the nasal cavity and also if you continue nasal decongestant spray for more than 3 days, then when you stop using them, your symptoms might get worse.
5. Taking blood pressure medicines? Be alert
Are you taking an ACE inhibitor for your high blood pressure? If so, that might be one of the reasons your cough is not leaving you.
Solution: According to Dr. Vikram Jaggi, it is better to consult your doctor as not all Blood Pressure medicines are reasons behind your persistent cough.
6. Too much of puff:
Just like your broom which you use to clean your house, your lungs too have its own cleaning system-Cilia. But when you smoke, your cilia tends to get damaged. As a result, the cancer-causing chemicals present in the cigarette gets trapped in your lungs. This can put you at a high risk of Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease(COPD) including chronic bronchitis which means irreversible damage to your airways if you continue smoking. Also, the chemicals present in the smoke can cause irritation in the airways leading to a pesky cough.
Solution: Quit smoking
7. Cough, cough! Its pollution:
The rising pollution in the air, especially during winters, might be one of the prime reasons behind your story of never-ending cough.
Solution: Try to cover your face with anti-pollution masks (preferably N-95 mask) especially when you go outside.
8. When season also plays its role:
You must be in love with winter but be careful of the problems it brings along like cold and dry air which can aggravate your cough when breathed regularly. But bringing on a humidifier is also not an answer to get rid of the dry air, as moist air can encourage the growth of mold, an allergen making you cough again.
Solution: Try to cover your nose and ears to avoid catching a cold and help get rid of a persistent cough.
9. Stress the silent killer:
Mental factors like stress can bring you at the forefront of a continuous cough and weaken a person’s immune system. This type of a cough is called psychogenic which shoots at the time of stress and disappears during sleep.
Solution: To kick away your cough, reduce your stress or don’t push yourself too hard for any situation be it workplace or at home.
Other serious reasons that might lead to a lingering cough are gastroesophageal reflux disease, undiagnosed asthma, tuberculosis and cancer.
So if your cough lasts for more than seven days then it is advisable to see a doctor to rule out any underlying health issues.
Find out what is making you cough. Stay healthy. Stay safe.