You need not be alarmed at every little cough, but you need to understand a cough happens for a reason. It is a symptom that something is interfering with you respiratory system. If you smoke there a good chance you will have a chronic cough; although you probably already know and this and have accepted it; otherwise you would have stopped smoking. In most cases when one stops smoking the cough will gradually cease, and, in time, system will repair itself, somewhat.
Exactly what is a cough? It is a noisy sound produced when by the trachea, (commonly known as the windpipe) or the lungs, attempt to dislodge a foreign object or to react against an irritation. A cough is to the mouth what a sneeze is to the nose. The difference is a sneeze reacts to invading irritations from outside the nostrils; while a cough is a reaction from some internal affliction.
Although objects destined for the stomach such as food can lodge in the trachea. Coughing is a natural means of dislodging the foreign object and clearing the air passageways. (The very effective Heimlich maneuver has saved many lives by the intervention of quick actions by another person. If you are unaware of this maneuver, learn more about it.)
What causes coughs and when should you see a doctor?
If you have the first symptoms of a cold, you probably will also have at the onset, or will in a few days, develop a cough. There is nothing to be alarmed at here as long as the cough subsides along with the other symptoms of the cold. The cough, in most cases, will be the last cold symptom to disappear; the reasoning being the bronchial congestion takes a little longer to dissipate. The mucous you bring up with the lingering cough after a chest cold, will be a pale yellow in color.
If, however, you suddenly start chilling and running a temperature and if you cough up yellowish green mucus, see your doctor. Your cold has evolved into a bronchitis and is in danger of becoming a more serious pneumonia. When this happens you should not delay in getting help and some much needed antibiotics.
If while coughing your are short of breath and your mucous is frothy and pinkish in color, you could be having pulmonary edema, or more commonly known as fluid in the lungs. See your doctor.
If while coughing you wheeze, and you are short of breath, see your doctor. Asthma is a serious condition that needs to be treated by a professional and delaying treatment is not recommended. It is possible this is only associated with this one cold or illness, but don’t count on it. It could be the triggering agent causing a chronic asthma.
If you have heart problems, swelling of the feet and legs and are short of breath, see your doctor. The diagnosis could be congestive heart failure. This is a chronic condition that needs treatment. There will be fluid in the lungs and in fact all your body will be somewhat edematous. This will not get better on its own. You need immediate attention.
With sharp chest pains, shortness of breath, a speed-ed up heart rate while coughing up blood, suspect a pulmonary embolus. Get to the emergency room of the nearest hospital quickly. This means you have blood clot that broke away from elsewhere in your body and is now attempting to circulate through your body. It is blocking your airways.
Tuberculosis also has a cough often with bloody sputum. With this pulmonary condition, however, there are a couple of distinguishing symptoms that are nearly always present: Night sweats and chills. There is usually chest pain when coughing. There is an effective treatment for this now, unlike olden times when nearly all wasted away’ in a few years. In fact, it is a law that all diagnosed tubercular cases be treated.
Cancer too causes coughing and along with it a gradual weight loss. The coughing is caused by the carcinoma interfering with how the pulmonary functions. Of course you will see your doctor if you should expect this. Hopefully the cough will alert to this danger in time for effective treatment.
Coughing, pain, dizziness, burning sensations, etc., are all symptoms telling us something is not right in our bodies. Seen in this way they are messages telling our physicians what is going on in our bodies. We too can learn to decipher these tell-tale signs of our bodies. We do this so we can better describe our symptoms to our health care professionals, not that we are diagnosing our illness, or worse, trying some home remedy. Effective health care is three-fold; doctors and patients, and pharmaceutical companies all work together for the health of all.