Are you trying to get rid of an annoying cough? Doctors say it often takes patience and time

An annoying, irritating cough. They are annoying, annoying and, unfortunately, very common after various viral infections.

Research suggests that “post-infectious cough”, referring to symptoms lasting between three and eight weeks, affects up to a quarter of adults after a primary respiratory infection such as a cold, flu or Covid.

So how can you get rid of this type of persistent cough forever?

In many cases, it is just a matter of patience and time. I suggest three doctors In an article published in the Canadian Medical Association Journal (CMAJ) on Monday.

“Most of the time, a cough goes away on its own without any medication or treatment, but it can last much longer than you think,” one of the article’s authors, Vancouver-based family physician Dr. Kevin Liang, said in an interview. With CBC News.

Patients often appear concerned about a lingering cough, thinking they still have the primary infection, said Liang, a clinical instructor in the Department of Family Practice at the University of British Columbia.

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Are you dealing with an annoying cough that won’t go away? If you’ve been sick recently, it may just be a post-infectious cough, says respiratory specialist Dr. Nicholas Vozouris. He explains what you can do to relieve discomfort — and when to check if it’s more serious.

He stressed that this is not usually the case.

What actually happens, Liang and colleagues wrote, is that previous infection triggers an “inflammatory cascade,” which then leads to increased bronchial sensitivity and mucus production, while reducing mucus clearance.

In other words: Inflammation causes more mucus to appear in your nose and increased sensitivity in parts of your lungs, and this combo causes your body to cough — over and over again.

Liang said there is no quick fix.

The length of the persistent cough is important

The question of how to combat an annoying cough is an age-old one.

For years, doctors have divided coughs into two categories: acute, as in short-term, and chronic, referring to any cough that lasts more than a few weeks. But recently, Guidelines are beginning to shift toward a third category of “subacute” cough. Which only lasts three to eight weeks – short enough to resolve, but long enough for it to be so Extremely annoying.

one study, Published nearly two decades agoResearchers evaluated nearly 200 patients with a persistent cough and found that the most common cause of a “subacute” cough was simply a previous infection, rather than a more serious, ongoing health problem.

That’s the same conclusion in the new CMAJ article. But peer-reviewed practice suggestions from Canadian doctors also stressed that it’s important for doctors to consider other possibilities.

For someone’s persistent hacking to be considered a post-infectious cough, doctors need to confirm that the respiratory tract was infected earlier. They also need to rule out other health problems that can lead to similar symptoms, such as asthma, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), or whooping cough, a condition known as “Whooping cough” For the special whoop The sound that can lead to it.

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Some red flags — and a cough that lasts more than eight weeks — should also trigger further follow-up, the doctors wrote.

Symptoms such as coughing up blood, difficulty swallowing and hoarseness, a history of recurrent pneumonia or being a long-time smoker could mean another health problem.

In those cases, Persistent cough “It may be a manifestation of something that needs more aggressive treatment,” noted pulmonologist Dr. Imran Satia, who runs a cough clinic through McMaster University in Hamilton, Ontario. He did not participate in writing the CMAJ article.

If someone’s cough continues to get worse, or if the patient has a fever, has trouble breathing or is constantly wheezing, those are other signs that someone may have another underlying health condition, he said.

“There is a nuance in how this is managed,” Satya stressed, since a persistent, long-term cough can be a symptom of diverse and serious conditions such as lung fibrosis, lung cancer, heart failure or tuberculosis. “It is important that these things are not missed,” he added.

But in immediate cases where a previous viral infection led to a long-lasting cough, doctors agree that these conditions usually resolve on their own.

Pour the cough syrup into a spoon.
Codeine — an opioid pain reliever — is found in some cough syrups, and when taken in high doses, it is associated with drowsiness, headaches, slow breathing, and even nausea and vomiting. (Aging Dinar Olviana/Reuters)

“No evidence” treatments help

The point is, it takes time. The authors wrote in their article in CMAJ that there is “no evidence” that the treatment options are beneficial.

The methodological research cited by the group was Published in the British Journal of General Practice In 2018, we looked at six randomized controlled trials involving hundreds of patients with subacute cough, suggesting no clear benefits for any treatment.

“Systematic reviews of randomized controlled trials evaluating inhaled corticosteroids, bronchodilators, and oral agents for postinfectious cough concluded that there was no evidence of benefit,” the CMAJ authors noted.

“Most trials found that cough symptoms improved without medication, highlighting the post-infectious nature of cough.”

Liang added that commonly available options like inhalers and codeine can be expensive, and can come with “nasty side effects.”

For example, codeine — an opioid-based pain reliever — is found in some cough syrups, and when taken in high doses, it is associated with drowsiness, headaches, slow breathing, and even nausea and vomiting.

Meanwhile, most inhalers are the main type of treatment for chronic lung diseases like asthma and COPD, not short-term cough concerns.

Antibiotics also don’t work; They are used to combat active bacterial infections, not viral infections or post-infectious inflammation. (Doctors also fear that they will be prescribed these medications more often, leading to higher rates of drug resistance, as bacteria evolve to avoid our existing medications.) Causing untreatable infections.)

Satya agreed that these options did not make sense for ordinary hackers. “There is not much evidence to suggest that inhaled steroids, bronchodilators, antibiotics or steroids will help reduce your cough and make you feel better.”

So is there? anything What can people do to relieve a cough that lasts for weeks after the virus?

In many cases, Liang said patients’ piracy worsens at night, so he often recommends propping up with a few pillows instead of sleeping in bed. But beyond that, it’s mostly just a waiting game.

“Ultimately, it’s really time, and this is what’s going to stop this cough and solve it.”

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