Defining a Cough
It is a sudden, forceful, and often involuntary hacking sound for releasing air from the throat. Ideally, a cough should be the body’s natural response to expel foreign contents or ease irritation in the throat or your airway. As such, a cough does not always indicate an underlying health problem that requires urgent care near you.
On the other hand, coughing is a symptom of various health conditions, especially those affecting your respiratory system.
Causes of a Cough
The most common causes of a cough are typical. One of the ways to determine if your cough is a normal and natural response of your body is to check its frequency. If it does not frequently happen within a short period, you should not be alarmed. Some causes of a normal cough are:
- Swallowing food, drinks, or saliva improperly
- Irritants and allergens like dust, pollen, and smoke
- A need to clear the airways
However, in other cases, a cough can indicate a severe health problem that requires urgent care in 78227. When a cough is associated with an underlying health problem, you will experience other symptoms accompanying your cough. Such coughs persist for a while, repeatedly happening in one day. Causes of such coughs include:
- Common cold
- Influenza (the flu)
- Lung cancer
- Pulmonary embolism – when a blood clot forms in the lung area
- Heart disease
When Should You See a Doctor for a Cough?
As a general rule of thumb, understand that it is pretty rare for a cough to be the only symptom when you have a serious underlying health problem. Therefore, before you take drastic measures to rush to an urgent care clinic, monitor your cough closely. The more frequently it happens, the more concerned you should get. You should also be paying attention to other symptoms you experience throughout your body from when you start coughing. Some doctors in urgent care in San Antonio will also recommend that you listen in on the sounds you produce when coughing. Some other factors that warrant visiting a doctor for cough are:
- When you have a discolored discharge after coughing, the discharge could be bloody or have traces of blood.
- Chest pains – that get worse when you cough.
- Wheezing sounds and reduced breathability
- Fatigue and sleepiness
What is the Outcome if Left Untreated?
More often than not, people do not need treatment in an urgent care center to manage their cough. A cough will go away on its own as soon as your body gets rid of the trigger. Should your cough persist, you need to see a doctor sooner than later. Left untreated, you cannot have the correct diagnosis of why you are coughing. Without an accurate diagnosis, you may be over-relying on over-the-counter medicine yet treating the wrong problem. The worst-case scenario is that you have a severe health problem that worsens with time, developing permanent complications that will render you a terminally ill patient. Besides, the longer you keep coughing, the more likely you will have the following effects:
- Severe chest pain
- Dizziness or fainting
- Damaged throat
- Fractured ribs
- Damaged lungs
How to Avoid a Cough
Although occasionally coughing is a natural response of your body, the following tips can help you avoid coughing unnecessarily:
- Avoid irritants like smoke and dust.
- Quit smoking or being around people who smoke.
- Raise your hygiene standards to prevent any bacterial and viral respiratory infections.
- Maintain a healthy lifestyle. Part of this includes having regular health exams for your entire body to detect any silent killer diseases and underlying health issues.
- Keep a clean environment. Ensuring you get rid of mold and dust that may cause nasal blockages. Better yet, disinfect the surfaces in your home, particularly during the COVID-19 pandemic era.
- Use a humidifier to create a moist atmosphere in your home that will promote breathability, especially during the winter season.