A cough is a significant reason to seek primary or secondary care. Although some patients present to the clinician with acute cough, which may be less destructive, it is critical to receive immediate treatment to prevent its progression into severe stages. Your doctor will review your symptoms and recommend various tests to determine the severity and cause of your West Los Angeles cough before developing a treatment to restore an optimal health status.
Why are you coughing
Coughing is usually spontaneous, a reflex to foreign substances irritating your throat and airways. An accurate diagnosis of the underlying reason for your cough will help your doctor to develop and deliver an appropriate treatment to restore respiratory health. The following are the most common causes of acute cough:
- Upper respiratory tract infections: Clinical presentations of a cough, fever, sore throat, and runny nose will cause your doctor to develop diagnostic protocols that involve evaluating your nose and throat to reveal any signs of infection. The main cause of upper respiratory tract infection is the entry of viruses, bacteria, or parasites, and it usually explains problems like the common cold or influenza. You will need immediate treatment to prevent the spread of infection into surrounding tissues.
- Lower respiratory tract infections: Your doctor will conduct a comprehensive p[physical exam on you if you have a deep, persistent cough and fever to confirm a lower respiratory tract infection. You will need immediate treatment for confirmed bronchitis or pneumonia because these infections are serious and can jeopardize surrounding tissues.
- Hay fever (or allergic rhinitis): Although your doctor may diagnose a runny nose, cough, and sneezing as a common cold, you must undergo additional tests to your physical exam to ensure an accurate diagnosis because these symptoms may also indicate hay fever, an allergic reaction which requires a varying treatment approach to the common cold.
- Inhalation of irritants: Your doctor may ask questions about your lifestyle to recognize exposure to fumes and vapors that might explain airway inflammation causing you to cough.
- Pulmonary embolism: When blood clots in your legs and travels to the lungs, you experience shortness of breath. This life-threatening condition presents as a dry cough and is a sign of an underlying problem. Your doctor should quickly recognize this concern to develop an effective approach to limiting your risk of adversities like death.
Other causes of cough include lung collapse, heart failure, post-nasal drip, and gastro-esophageal reflux (GERD). Inform your doctor about any developing cough complications to receive an accurate diagnosis.
How do doctors treat coughs in adults?
Treating your cough will depend on the cause and severity of your symptoms. Your doctor will conduct comprehensive diagnostic techniques before treating your concerns. Typical treatments involve over-the-counter cough and cold medicines. However, your doctor may opt for alternative therapies, especially if your cough shows an underlying concern. The only way to guarantee successful treatment outcomes is to collaborate with your primary care provider to review your medical and family history thoroughly and thus recognize predispositions that could explain your cough. Contact Catherine Fuller, MD, to report your cough and schedule a diagnostic and treatment appointment to restore your respiratory health.