The Truth About Lingering Coughs After Illness

The Truth About Lingering Coughs After Illness

A persistent cough that lingers long after a respiratory illness may be a cause for concern, according to experts. While some individuals may dismiss it as a normal part of recovery, a lingering cough could be indicative of a deeper underlying issue.

Dr. Nicholas Vozoris, an assistant professor and respirologist at Saint Michael’s Hospital, explains that this type of cough, known as a “post-infectious cough,” can last up to eight weeks. It occurs after the other symptoms of an infection have resolved and is commonly associated with viral or bacterial respiratory tract infections.

Post-infectious coughs are often misunderstood by the public. Many patients are surprised to learn about this diagnosis, despite it being a well-known condition among medical professionals. During cold and flu season, these coughs are particularly common.

While most post-infectious coughs are not cause for major concern, there are instances where it may indicate an underlying medical condition. Dr. Vozoris emphasizes the need for evaluation if the cough persists, as it could be a sign of a chronic respiratory disease, such as asthma or chronic bacterial sinusitis.

Coughing at night or in the early morning is also common for individuals with a post-infectious cough. This can occur due to the accumulation of mucus and postnasal drip while lying down. The cough may worsen during these times, causing discomfort and disruption to sleep.

Dr. Vozoris recommends consulting a healthcare professional to rule out any serious underlying issues. A thorough examination and relevant testing can help determine the cause of the cough and guide appropriate treatment.

While honey, lozenges, and hydration can help soothe an irritated throat, medical interventions such as bronchodilators or low-dose steroid pills may be prescribed in some cases. However, most post-infectious coughs resolve with time and patience.

It’s important to be vigilant and seek medical attention if a lingering cough persists or is accompanied by troubling symptoms. By understanding the truth about post-infectious coughs, individuals can take the necessary steps to recover and maintain their respiratory health.

FAQ Section:

Q: What is a post-infectious cough?
A: A post-infectious cough is a type of cough that occurs after the other symptoms of a respiratory infection have resolved. It can last up to eight weeks and is commonly associated with viral or bacterial respiratory tract infections.

Q: Are post-infectious coughs common?
A: Yes, post-infectious coughs are common, particularly during cold and flu season.

Q: Should I be concerned if I have a lingering cough after a respiratory illness?
A: While most post-infectious coughs are not cause for major concern, it is important to seek medical evaluation if the cough persists. It could be a sign of an underlying chronic respiratory disease.

Q: What are some signs that a post-infectious cough may indicate an underlying medical condition?
A: Coughing at night or in the early morning, as well as the persistence of the cough, may indicate an underlying chronic respiratory disease.

Q: How can a post-infectious cough affect sleep?
A: A post-infectious cough can worsen at night or in the early morning due to the accumulation of mucus and postnasal drip while lying down. This can cause discomfort and disrupt sleep.

Q: What should I do if I have a lingering cough?
A: It is recommended to consult a healthcare professional to rule out any serious underlying issues. They can perform a thorough examination and relevant testing to determine the cause of the cough and guide appropriate treatment.

Q: What are some possible treatments for a post-infectious cough?
A: While honey, lozenges, and hydration can help soothe an irritated throat, medical interventions such as bronchodilators or low-dose steroid pills may be prescribed in some cases. However, most post-infectious coughs resolve with time.

Key terms and jargon:

– Post-infectious cough: A type of cough that occurs after the other symptoms of a respiratory infection have resolved.
– Respiratory tract infections: Infections that affect the airways and lungs, such as colds, flu, and bronchitis.
– Chronic respiratory disease: Long-term diseases that affect the airways and lungs, such as asthma or chronic bacterial sinusitis.
– Bronchodilators: Medications that relax and open the airways, making it easier to breathe.
– Postnasal drip: The backward flow of mucus from the nose down the throat, often causing coughing or a tickling sensation in the throat.

Suggested related links:
Saint Michael’s Hospital
Asthma UK
WebMD

All Rights Reserved 2021
| .
Privacy policy
Contact