Healthy Living

When to Worry About a Cough

During and for a few weeks after an infection, you might gain an irritating cough that you find hard to shake. You might also develop a cough if you frequently smoke or if you have allergies or asthma. However, sometimes, a cough can be a sign of serious illness. Here is when you should start to worry about your cough.


Your Cough is Persistent

Even though coughs from viral infections can last for around three weeks, if your cough goes on for any longer than this, you should consider getting it checked out, even if you believe that it could just be a smoker’s cough. This is because it could be a sign of conditions such as lung cancer or chronic bronchitis (especially if your cough has developed after infection). By going to the doctor about your persistent cough, they may be able to give you the diagnosis and treatment that you need. More than anything else, they will be able to put your mind at rest.

Your Cough is Paired with Other Symptoms

You should also get your cough checked out if you are experiencing other symptoms. For instance, if you are losing weight, feeling dizzy, or you have developed jaundice, you might have lung cancer. You can find out more about the signs of lung cancer on the Moffitt Cancer Center website. This will help you to rule out cancer and can ensure that you do not further ignore the signs of serious conditions like lung cancer. You may even then be able to find a doctor who will be able to get you on the right course of treatment for you.

You Cough Up Blood

You might cough up blood because you have bronchitis, pneumonia, or another type of infection, or if you have been infectious for a long time. However, coughing up blood may mean that your condition is extremely serious and could be an indication of cancer or a blood clot. Even if you cough up blood due to an infection, this may mean that you need more intensive treatment from a medical team, and that your condition has gone further than you are able to treat at home. Coughing up blood can also be a sign of TB.

Your Cough is Bad

You should also see a doctor immediately or do medical research on the internet if your cough is harsh, and worse than you usually experience coughs. You might find that you are having to endure frequent coughing fits, or that your cough is leaving you feeling breathless and with chest pain. You should also get your cough checked if over-the-counter cough medicines are not helping and you believe that you might need one of the prescription options such as codeine, which can help to stop the reflex that causes you to cough and which is making you miserable.

Coughing is not always a cause for concern, and yet you need to stay aware of your cough and how it is developing. This will allow you to recognize when your cough is a sign of something more severe and when you might need medical intervention.