How do I know if my cough is serious?


1. Wheezing or shortness of breath

2.Coughing up blood

3.Fever greater than 100 Fahrenheit

4.Difficulty swallowing

5.A cough that has persisted for more than 2 weeks without getting better.


How can I relieve my cough?

The best thing to do is basically nothing.  Coughing, while it’s a nuisance is actually nature’s way of clearing the virus or bacteria. Most coughs are caused by a virus rather than a bacterial cause contrary to what people think. Some people may try over the counter cough medicines for temporary relief. Cough suppressants do just that, suppress the cough.  Decongestants can help break up the mucous if your cough is dry.  Helpful home remedies might include things like hot tea with honey and lemon, inhaling peppermint, the menthol in peppermint may also soothe a cough and give you some relief.  If your cough seems to be too bothersome, prescription cough medications can be prescribed as a last resort, and the telehealth platform is happy to oblige.


What can trigger a cough?

The answer is…lots of things.

1.Clearing your throat

2.Viruses or bacterial infections

3.Smoking

4.Post-nasal drip, mucus dripping down the back of your throat

5.GERD, (gastro-esophageal reflux disease)

6.Asthma

*Some medications like a blood pressure medication, called ACE inhibitors can make you cough.  However, if you have a cough while taking this medication you need to let your medical provider know, they can switch you to something else.  


How do I know if my cough is viral or bacterial?

As just mentioned, most coughs are viral, meaning in time they will resolve on their own.  However some coughs are bacterial, and may be more serious.  Sometimes when providers don’t know for sure what the cause is or if you have underlying health conditions, you may be prescribed an antibiotic “just in case”.  Other times it is indicated to begin antibiotics right away.  The take home message is:  When in doubt be evaluated by a medical provider!!  The telehealth platform will be able to guide you accordingly.

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