A cough is a common symptom of respiratory infections, allergies, and other respiratory illnesses. While coughing is a natural reflex that helps clear your airways, it can be frustrating when it persists for an extended period. While you may know that smoking, air pollution, and respiratory infections can trigger or worsen a cough, several other surprising things can exacerbate a cough.
In this article, we will explore five unexpected things that can worsen your cough.
1. Acid Reflux
Acid reflux, also known as gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), is a digestive disorder where stomach acid flows back into your esophagus. This condition can cause a chronic cough, especially when the stomach acid irritates the lining of your throat.
To reduce the impact of acid reflux on your cough, you can try avoiding acidic foods, eating smaller meals, and sleeping with your head elevated.
Asthma is a chronic respiratory condition where your airways become inflamed, narrow, and produce excess mucus, making it difficult to breathe. Coughing is a common symptom of asthma, and it can worsen when you have an asthma attack or are exposed to asthma triggers.
To reduce the impact of asthma on your cough, you can try using an inhaler as prescribed by your doctor, avoiding asthma triggers, and maintaining a healthy lifestyle.
3. Postnasal Drip
Postnasal drip occurs when mucus accumulates in the back of your throat and triggers a cough reflex. This condition can occur due to allergies, colds, or sinus infections.
To reduce the impact of postnasal drip on your cough, you can try using saline nasal sprays, staying hydrated, and using a humidifier.
4. Certain Medications
Certain medications, such as ACE inhibitors, can cause a persistent cough as a side effect. ACE inhibitors are commonly used to treat high blood pressure and heart failure.
To reduce the impact of medication on your cough, you can talk to your doctor about switching to a different medication or reducing the dosage.
5. GERD-triggered Cough
GERD-triggered cough is a specific type of cough that is caused by GERD. This type of cough can be hard to manage and treat, but there are ways to reduce its impact on your daily life.
To reduce the impact of GERD-triggered cough, you can try over-the-counter antacids, proton pump inhibitors, or H2 blockers. You can also talk to your doctor about surgery to treat GERD.
A cough is a common symptom of respiratory infections, allergies, and other respiratory illnesses. While you may know that smoking, air pollution, and respiratory infections can trigger or worsen a cough, several other surprising things can exacerbate a cough. Acid reflux, asthma, postnasal drip, certain medications, and GERD-triggered cough are some of the unexpected things that can worsen your cough. By understanding the root cause of your cough, you can take steps to reduce its impact on your daily life.
1. Can stress cause a cough?
Yes, stress can cause a cough. Stress can trigger a range of physical reactions in your body, including an increased heart rate and a surge in adrenaline, which can cause you to cough.
2. Can a cough be a sign of lung cancer?
A persistent cough can be a symptom of lung cancer, but it is not always the case. It is essential to talk to your doctor if you have a persistent cough, especially if you have other symptoms such as chest pain, shortness of breath, or coughing up blood.
3. Can allergies cause a cough?
Yes, allergies can cause a cough. When you are exposed to allergens such as pollen, dust, or pet dander, your body produces histamine, which can cause inflammation in your airways, leading to a cough.
4. Can diet affect coughing?
Yes, diet can affect coughing. Certain foods such as dairy products, fried foods, and spicy foods can trigger acid reflux, leading to a cough. It is essential to avoid these trigger foods if you are prone to acid reflux.
5. When should I see a doctor for a cough?
You should see a doctor if your cough persists for more than two weeks, or if you have other symptoms such as chest pain, shortness of breath, or coughing up blood. It is also important to seek medical attention if you have a weakened immune system or underlying health conditions such as asthma or COPD.