Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Is It Really Just a Bit of a Cough? Just a Tickle in the Throat, or a Sign of Something Serious? Lisa Salmon Asks the Experts to Cough Up the Facts

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Is It Really Just a Bit of a Cough? Just a Tickle in the Throat, or a Sign of Something Serious? Lisa Salmon Asks the Experts to Cough Up the Facts

Article excerpt

Byline: Lisa Salmon

LIKE headaches, sore throats and runny noses, coughs are extremely common and most of the time, nothing to really worry about.

Colds and minor infections are often a cough-causing culprit, but conditions like allergies and asthma - as well as things like the weather, environment and smoking - can also come into play.

But if a cough doesn't clear up after a few weeks, how can you tell whether there's possibly something more serious going on? Professor Alyn Morice, cough expert and head of Cardiorespiratory Studies at Hull York Medical School, explains that coughs fall into two categories: acute and chronic.

there is syrups minor Acute coughs are shortterm, lasting up to three weeks, and are usually the result of an upper respiratory tract infection, such as the common cold.

Chronic coughs are persistent and may be the result of a condition such as asthma, or a lower respiratory tract infection like bronchitis.

"If your cough lasts longer than eight weeks, you should seek medical advice," advises Prof Morice. "There are also certain 'red flags', such as coughing up blood, a wheeze which won't go away or chest pain, all of which warrant a trip to the doctor."

There's always a chance that so-called 'red flag' symptoms are due to something entirely harmless, but such symptoms should never be ignored and it's always best to get them checked, sooner rather than later. Plus, Prof Morice adds: "Anyone who feels very ill, is losing weight, or is very lethargic should also consider that something else may be wrong."

range of cough to ease " If you're unsure how to treat a cough in the meantime, or your cough doesn't seem serious but is irritating, speak to your pharmacist for advice.

Here's a list of acute and chronic coughs you might encounter: CHESTY COUGH Causes: A chesty cough is caused by excessive mucus in the chest, produced to help clear the airways. The body's natural response is to cough up the mucus and expel it from the body.

Symptoms: A heavy and tight chest, a rattling feeling within the chest, coughing up sticky mucus, and excess mucus in the airways. Treatment: If the cough is causing irritation, an expectorant cough mixture can be used to help loosen the phlegm and make it easier to cough up.

DRY TICKLY COUGH Causes: A dry cough which tickles the throat doesn't produce mucus and is usually a result of throat irritation.

Symptoms: The throat can become sore when swallowing due to inflammation in the upper airways. Treatment: A demulcent which can help by coating the throat and soothing the passage of the upper respiratory tract.

POST-VIRAL COUGH Causes: A post-viral cough is the most common symptom of an upper respiratory tract infection, such as a cold or flu. It can linger long after the cold virus has gone due to throat inflammation. …

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