Allergies, asthma, and problems resulting from allergies, such as postnasal drip, are the top causes of a chronic cough. The doctors at Ear, Nose & Throat Care, PC in Somerville and Warren, New Jersey, specialize in finding the cause of an ongoing cough and providing the personalized care you need to get relief from your symptoms. If you have a cough that lasts longer than two weeks, call the office to schedule an appointment.request an appointment
Upper respiratory infections such as the flu and the common cold often cause an acute cough that lasts two weeks or less. When a cough lasts longer than a few weeks, it’s called a chronic cough.
The most common causes of a chronic cough include:
Asthma is the top cause of a chronic cough in children and the second most frequent cause in adults. Many patients with asthma find that their cough is worse at night. There’s also a type of asthma called cough-variant asthma, in which a dry cough is the only symptom.
Postnasal drip, or upper airway cough syndrome, occurs when mucus drips from your nose and into the back of your throat. Allergies and sinusitis often cause postnasal drip.
Rhinitis and sinusitis
Allergic rhinitis (hay fever), nonallergic rhinitis, and allergic sinusitis can cause a cough, along with other symptoms.
Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD)
GERD occurs when contents from your stomach come up out of the stomach and into your esophagus. The strong stomach acid often leads to coughing and a hoarse voice.
After a viral respiratory infection, children may continue to have a cough that lasts for weeks.
Chronic bronchitis is caused by airways that are constantly inflamed, usually due to cigarette smoking.
What other symptoms might occur with a cough?
Depending on the cause of your cough, you may also have symptoms such as:
- Runny nose
- Sore throat
- Difficulty swallowing
- Itchy nose and eyes
A chronic cough can make you feel fatigued, either because vigorous coughing is exhausting or because the cough interferes with your sleep.
How do you treat a cough?
The best treatment for a cough depends on the underlying cause. The doctors at Ear, Nose & Throat Care, PC review your medical history and symptoms and do a thorough physical exam.
Depending on the suspected cause, they may run diagnostic tests or perform allergy testing. Once the cause is diagnosed, they create a customized treatment plan to deal with the underlying health condition and relieve your symptoms.
Some patients may have a neurogenic cough, also knows as Sensory Neuropathic Cough, which fails to respond to conventional treatments. In these cases, the symptom is not pain, but rather a cough due to nerve damage. The team may recommend Gabapentin as a treatment for this condition.
Treatment for a chronic cough caused by asthma includes a rescue inhaler to improve breathing during a flare-up, medication to prevent future attacks, and a plan to avoid asthma triggers.
If allergies are the culprit, Ear, Nose & Throat Care, PC may recommend allergy shots to relieve all your symptoms, including a cough.
If you have a cough that lasts longer than 2-3 weeks, or the cough brings up discolored mucus, it’s time to schedule an appointment. Call Ear, Nose & Throat Care, PC or use the online booking feature.
*Video testimonial from one of Dr. Bortniker’s patients below: