Chronic Cough

Thursday, February 09, 2012

Youve been coughing for weeks. How do you know if its just a hard-to-shake cold or something more serious? Dr. Edward Hill discusses chronic cough in todays 60 Second Housecall.

Dr. Hill:

Coughing is how your body clears foreign objects and mucus from your lungs and breathing tubes. A cough that lasts a long time can be a sign of a health problem. A chronic cough is a cough that lasts longer than eight weeks.

Common causes of a chronic cough include heartburn, asthma, smoking, certain medicines used to treat high blood pressure and postnasal drip, which can be caused by allergies or sinus problems.

Diseases, such as tuberculosis and lung cancer, can cause a chronic cough, but these are rare.

Talk to your doctor if you have a cough that lasts longer than eight weeks. Your doctor will ask whether you smoke or have smoked in the past, and whether you have any allergies, are exposed to chemicals where you work, or have heartburn.

Chronic cough in children is usually caused by asthma, respiratory infections or heartburn. Talk to your doctor if your child has a cough that lasts longer than four weeks.

For North Mississippi Medical Center, Im Dr. Edward Hill.