What is acute cough?
Ahem! Let’s talk about cough, shall we? Nothing says ‘I’m sick’ more than a wheezing and barking sound that seems to emanate from the bowels of your being. You could be deep in sleep, dreaming of frolicking unicorns and suddenly you feel an irresistible urge to clear your throat. Acute cough can be classified as a symptom that lasts less than 3 weeks but feels like it’s been there since the beginning of time.
One minute I’m good, next…cough!
Tis the season to be tickled by cold viruses and flu germs. Acute cough usually starts with sudden onset accompanied by other flu-like symptoms: fever/chills, body ache,malaise (feeling unwell generally),stuffy/runny nose,sore throat etc.It can also occur as part of virally-mediated illnesses such as group A streptococcus(Strep) infections.In most cases,your immune system gets up off its lazy behind after 7-10 days and sends Mr.Cough packing.But sometimes,it hangs around even longer causing distress to both user & housemates.
Why does my chest make funny noises?
You’re not alone if you’ve ever wondered what causes those banging or rattling sounds coming outta your chest.They arise from mucosal secretions,repetitive closure/opening of small airways/pulmonary swelling.All these factors contribute to blunting airflow,reducing oxygenation & creating squishy exhale sounds.Reminds me of a scene from Spongebob where he blows bubbles under the sea.(laughs)
Who gets acute coughs?
If you breathe oxygen (& yes,I mean every human & animal alive!)you are susceptible.You are especially prone if:
1.You’re immuno-compromised (HIV/immunosuppressive therapy)
2.Smoke cigarettes/have COPD(chronic bronchitis/emphysema)
3.Are a little guy who attends daycare(Kids are germ factories!)
4.Have other underlying pulmonary illnesses(asthma,Cystic fibrosis)
Holy Chicken Soup Batman! Am I contagious?
YES. Not only can acute cough knock you out of commission, but it’s also infectious.You have to take precautions so as not to spread those germs like wildfire.What do we mean by that? For starters,
1.No hugging or kissing-your loved ones need to keep their distance.
2.Don’t share items such as cups,glasses,toothbrushes,etc.(You’re not trying to start an epidemic here).
3.Cover your mouth when you cough…seriously!
4.Stay home & avoid large gatherings until the symptoms disappear.
What kind of doctor am I looking for again?
If you want to skip this part and just ask Uncle Google about what chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) is,don’t be surprised if he directs Aunt Jenny with her new puppy biscuits recipe instead(winks).First,you want a pulmonologist.(Fancy talk for lung doctors).This will ensure that anything affecting the lungs/airways gets caught early before turning into something more sinister.If Mr.Cough has overstayed his welcome despite over-the-counter medications&home remedies,I suggest making that appointment soon.
Just don’t go around saying “Acute Bronchoprotectory Mediastinoscopy pneumonia” please…
I understand if reading scientific jargon gives you the heebie-jeebies.Of course,there’s no need to feel nervous discussing your condition.At times,the medical world takes getting used too.Therefore,it’s essential in every diagnosis aspect; significant terms get adequately interpreted.The ABCDEF checklist is quite helpful:
A- Accuracy achieved after examination
B- Briefly explained to me by the doctor
C- Complications that could occur and how they can be controlled.
D- Details of each step & possible risk factors given during treatment/procedure/medication usage.
E- Explain what has worked for other patient cases. This is crucial!
F- Follow-up intervals should be made clear.
Can shortness of breath accompany acute cough?
Now,that’s a thought-provoking question.If you notice difficulty breathing when you’re suffering from acute cough,don’t ignore it.Dyspnea( fancy talk for ‘shortness-of-breath’) may indicate serious underlying conditions like pneumonia,pulmonary embolism(asthma attack)/ fluid in your lungs.Athletes generally use quick inhalations termed as panting which isn’t often associated with any lung issues.Nonetheless, if the outlandish idea comes into play where talking even casually causes severe dyspnea,it’s vital to see the doctor ASAP.
Oh no,I’m choking on my own spit!
That sounds like another distress call.Is this common?Yes,situations starting with fitful moments eventually lead to coughing up phlegm.Unique instances occurred when an ambulance was called only for doctors to find nothing more than water had entered their lungs making swallowing or breathing difficult.Most at times,this situation might follow prolonged heat or strenuous exercises.It brings about uncontrollable,expectorating coughs carrying high levels of bodily fluids.Needless to say,staying hydrated does help.
Does allergy have anything to do with Acute Coughs?
Ah yes,the unrequited love story between us all and allergies.Allergies make cells produce histamines(causes inflammation)when unwanted substances enter via pollen/smoke.In addition,inflammation triggers receptors present around nerve endings causing irritating,hence ANNOYING symptoms featuring nasal congestion/wheezing & increased production of NO(laughs).But yes,giving your immune system precedence over allergies helps in reducing severity
When should I visit the Doc again?
Your symptoms may disappear,but if you notice the following after a week,head to see your pulmonologist.
1.a fever 24 hours into medications/supplements
2.purulent (thick yellow/greenish) discharge hence a bacterial infection
3.Shortness of breath.
4.Chest pains/hemorrhagic bleeding/breathlessness despite continuity of pain killers/medicinal usage
Treatment options available for acute coughs!
Here comes the fun part! (Throws golden confetti)The main approach is simple & straightforward: Rest and drink plenty of fluid.Research has shown that about half our daily intake goes towards saving worn-out cells& fighting germs.Medical practitioners may also prescribe specific drugs e.g antibiotics(if bacterial)/cough suppressants(most dry-cough types)/ expectorants(assists with clearing phlegm).Breathing Exercises/Salt Therapy/Taking immunity boosters are further helpful ways to strengthen human bodily systems.Information on natural supplements can be found online.
Virtual care programs make things easier!
Telemedicine practices have taken over especially during this pandemic period.With virtual consultations,you only require access to internet facilities/devices at home.Therefore,schedule an appointment and get prescriptions delivered right away!Pretty convenient!(Shout out to modern technology.)
In conclusion,don’t let yourselves or anyone else suffer in silence.No one wants their breathing/Chest-breaking ability impaired.Acute Coughs certainly feel like rogue agents,but at times they stay longer than what’s bearable. Keep your A-Z chest health check and schedule appointments early.It makes for better living experience knowing that Health Check-ups take less time,because as much as we love our caregivers,no one wants to be cooped up in a hospital bed any longer than necessary!