Have a Cough that Just Won’t Go Away?
December 3, 2019
We’ve received all your comments on Facebook, your emails, your tweets, even your Snapchat videos. Now it’s time to answer all your questions in our favorite segment: Ask the Doctors. Let’s get started with our first Snapchat question. So for the past two months, I’ve had this really bad, dry cough that will not go away. I’m not sick. I have no symptoms of being sick, yet it’s still lingering. What can be causing it, and how do I get it to go away? (coughing) Ashlee is here with us, and Ashlee, sorry you’ve been dealing with this. When did this all start? About two months ago, I had caught the flu, and it turned into a really bad sore throat. I went to the doctors’. They prescribed antibiotics, as well as a cough syrup, but the cough never went away. First of all, I’m not going to sit here and try to diagnose you with a two-month cough. We start talking about two months, that’s a chronic cough, and a lot of things can cause it. Worth getting an evaluation when someone has an unexplained cough. But having said that this winter in particular, for whatever reason, a lot of people who’ve caught the flu, they’ve developed this almost bronchitic type cough, and it can linger for weeks and weeks and weeks. Not 100% saying this is what you have, but what happens when your airways get inflamed is literally the structure of those airways will become inflamed, much like an asthmatic, and you’ll see increased mucus production, and that inflammation can stick around for a really, really long time. And unfortunately in some individuals, it will sometimes last for weeks. Two months is a fairly long time, and if that is still the cause, there are some medications the doctors can prescribe to kinda tamp down that inflammatory effect, but then there are other things like reflux disease. That can cause coughing. Yeah, every time something comes up, irritates you– Medications? Yup. And so we kinda go through this laundry list as docs, but by far the most common cause of a cough that lingers after an infection is those airways get so inflamed. So you clear the infection, but it can take weeks for those airways to calm down. What we call post-inflammatory reactive airway disease. That tissue’s just irritated. It stimulates that cough mechanism, but I agree with you. Two months is a little bit long. You have to make sure you’re not missing something else. But feel better soon, Ashlee. Thank you.