No matter the time of the year, a cough these days can cause great alarm. Rather than panic, take the time to think about your symptoms and determine if your cough is severe or if you simply have allergies or a passing cold. Learn more about what makes a cough potentially severe and how to recognize the signs of trouble.
1. Difficulty Breathing
If your cough is combined with difficulty breathing, it is likely a sign that your cough is serious. Difficulty breathing can come from irritated airways, constricted airways, or pooling fluid, making it difficult for your lungs to operate normally. Some difficulty breathing after a coughing fit can be expected. However, long periods of gasping for air or struggling to catch your breath are not typical
2. Chest Pain
Chest pain can come from different sources when you have a cough. Chest pain might indicate that you have fluid building in the lungs, which is a serious situation that requires attention and treatment. Other chest pain might indicate heart problems, which is also a serious situation requiring immediate attention.
Finally, an additional source of chest pain comes from the muscle contractions that occur when you cough. After coughing for some time, like throughout the course of a cold or the flu, your body uses muscles that it typically does not, primarily if you use an expectorant like homeopathic cough medicine. Both chest and abdominal muscles will feel sore and occasionally even painful as you continue to cough. Occasionally, those muscles will become tender from constant use and also cause chest pain.
3. Cough Production
Knowing what do different coughs mean can help you determine the severity of your illness. Wet coughs are normal with a cold or flu, though persistent wet coughs indicate worse conditions like pneumonia, bronchitis, or emphysema. Dry coughs are usually associated with allergies or the result of a lingering illness but can also be present with tonsilitis, acid reflux, or laryngitis.
To treat wet and dry variations, many people use cough suppressant tablets to prevent coughing all day and night long. Whether it’s to keep your office mates from staring at you like you have the plague or to get a few hours of shut-eye, sometimes suppressing your cough is necessary. Other times, however, cough expectorants, which loosen mucus instead, are the better solution.
4. Fever Combination
The flu and other viruses show up with a fever. When your cough shows up, too, it indicates that you have more than just a cold. If your cough has lasted for more than a few days and happens in conjunction with a fever, it is likely more serious than just a cough. A high fever can be dangerous, so it is vital to seek treatment if your fever continues to rise.
Even without other concurrent symptoms, a lingering cough can turn out to be more than just annoying. Always consult a medical professional if you have any questions or concerns about the severity of your specific medical care and history.