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Coughing is a natural and common response that the body uses to keep the lungs and airways clear for breathing. Many different factors can cause you to cough, so it can be difficult to figure out what’s behind a recently developed cough. Some coughs are harmless, but others can be a sign of serious illness. It can be helpful to have some guidelines to assist you with figuring out when to seek medical assistance for a cough.

Is the Cough Severe?

All coughs can be annoying, but some can actually interfere with your life or signify that you should seek help quickly. If your cough is accompanied by a wheeze or if you feel like you can’t catch your breath, it could be a sign of asthma or a serious respiratory condition. In either case, delaying a trip to the doctor could put you in danger.

Has It Been More Than Two Weeks?

Although some coughs that last more than two weeks aren’t a sign of something serious, an enduring cough can be a sign that medical intervention is necessary to pinpoint the ailment and work to treat it. A cough caused by allergies, for example, will continue until allergy medicine is taken. A physician can perform tests to diagnose the cause of the cough and prescribe treatments to clear it up.

Is It Productive?

If your cough is productive, it can tell you a bit more about whether or not you should see a doctor. Clear mucous usually indicates a cold or allergies. Yellow or green mucous can be a sign of a bacterial infection that will need to be treated with antibiotics. Pink or red tinged mucous may be a sign of aggravation caused by bronchitis, but it could also be a sign of cancer, so it’s important to seek a professional diagnosis.

Does It Start When You Lay Down?

If a cough starts when you lay down or immediately after you eat a meal, it could be a sign of heartburn or acid reflux. The coughing can be caused by acid traveling back up to the esophagus. If you cough regularly after meals or when you lie down, speak to a doctor, as the regular exposure of the esophagus to stomach acids could lead to issues.

Are There Other Symptoms?

A sore throat, congestion, and chills often accompany coughs whether they are caused by a cold, flu, bronchitis, or pneumonia. However, the presence of a fever in addition to these symptoms can help you determine that a cough is caused by pneumonia as opposed to less severe ailments, so it should be checked out. A cough without other symptoms may be caused by smoking or certain medications.

Do You Have Health Insurance?

Insurance will make it less expensive for you to get your cough checked out and treated properly, no matter what the cause. This can help to alleviate worries about the cough and get you breathing comfortably as soon as possible. If you don’t have health insurance, call 704-527-4220 today to work with an expert that can help you find a plan that’s right for you and your health needs.