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Lung diseases

Extensive coughing

01/04/2010

Question:

About 7 weeks ago it started with a sore throat. I went hiking for that day and later on I started to cough, while the taste of blood lingered in my mouth and my throat burned (which is not typical for me when hiking).

After I got home I was running a fever but by the second day the fever and sore throat were gone. It’s been 7 weeks now and I still have a cough. I cough after laughing, eating, drinking, breathing in cold air, or short exercises such as jogging.

Sometimes the cough is minor but other times I cough so hard I start to gag or feel like I’m choking, becoming short on air. Sometimes even leaving gasping for air on the floor. Lately it’s caused my sides to hurt from these cough attacks, such as my ribcage. I’m not sure what the problem is. I was taking different kinds of medicine (antibiotics and allergy pills) but nothing seems to work, I’ve recently given up on the thought that medicine will actually help.

Does anyone have an idea on what this cough might be? Or if it is just a cough which I do not need to be concerned about that will go away over time?

Answer:

Chronic cough can be a very bothersome problem, and finding the cause can be equally challenging. In most cases where there has been a recent upper respiratory infection, the cough persists after the infection but will usually resolve on it's own in 6-8 weeks. In some cases, it may last longer.

Many other things can cause chronic cough (allergic rhinitis, sinus disease, asthma, gastroesophageal reflux disease, medications such as ACE inhibitors, chronic bronchitis, to name a few...).

The treatment depends on the underlying cause. It is obviously beyond the scope of this forum to provide detailed treatment or diagnostic recommendations. However, if the cough continues, I would suggest that you seek evaluation by your family physician to determine the need for testing.

For more information:

Go to the Lung diseases health topic, where you can:

Response by:

Jennifer  McCallister, MD Jennifer McCallister, MD
Clinical Assistant Professor of Pulmonary, Allergy, Critical Care & Sleep
College of Medicine
The Ohio State University