What does your cough mean?

You heard your son coughing again.  You wonder why he’s always getting a cough. It’s like an unwelcome house pest wandering around your house and making its presence felt.

Doctors recommend that a persistent cough for more than three weeks should be consulted already.  A cough, on the other hand, with no clear cause but has been bugging you for quite some time is referred to as a chronic cough.

PSST.ph understands your concern and listed down the most common reasons a cough seems not to improve.

Acute bronchitis

What does your cough mean?
What does your cough mean?

Acute bronchitis is a condition wherein the passageway in the lungs become infected and inflamed.  The condition, though, is only short-term and is manifested by a hacking, mucusy cough.

A person with acute bronchitis may also experience aches, chest congestion, and sore throat.  The discomfort takes about a few days but the cough may persist for weeks.

Acid reflux

Acid reflux or Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) is one of the most common causes of chronic cough. This is when acid flows back into the esophagus, irritating nerve endings and triggering non-stop cough. Others cannot easily detect it is acid reflux that is causing them to cough because not everyone with GERD gets the more typical signs like heartburn or sour stomach.

Another symptom of acid reflux is coughing after a heavy meal.  Also, coughing is worse at night or upon rising from bed in the morning.  This is because lying down allows the acid to move up the esophagus.  GERD is easily remedied with  antacid medication.

Asthma and allergies

Cough is the most frequent manifestation of asthma, a chronic lung disease wherein the airways in the lungs are prone to inflammation and swelling.  Often, asthma is triggered when the person is around an allergen, an airborne irritant or cigarette smoke among others. Using a humidifier is a great idea to clean the air.

One can easily detect asthma because the coughing may come and go in certain situations.  If the coughing worsens because of playing with a pet dog, for instance, it is most likely allergies. Same with if the coughing stops when inside a fully air conditioned room, it is again, possibly the air pollutants.

When with asthma, coughing usually gets worse at night.   Antihistamines or allergy shots may help relieve the person with asthma or allergy.

Common cold or flu

What does your cough mean?
What does your cough mean?

Common cold is usually with a wet cough accompanied by a headache, runny nose, and sneezing.  Others even experience sore throat and fever.  Common cold may stay for a week or two.

To remedy common cold, it is prudent to take a cough suppressant or expectorant.  This will clear the lungs. It is also advisable to drink plenty of water.  Even fruit juice and soup can loosen mucus in the airways.  This helps one to cough the mucus out.


A cough producing a greenish mucus is one of the indications of pneumonia.  Pneumonia is caused by bacteria or virus.  To easily detect viral infection, the cough is often accompanied by colds, flu, fever, and stuffy nose.

Pneumonia is treated with antibiotics.  It clears up within two to three weeks.

Post-Nasal Drip

When one has post-nasal drip, he usually feels mucus from his sinus dripping down the back of his throat.   This then triggers a cough and an unsettled stomach in the morning. The cough, which is often  wet-sounding, may last for about eight weeks or longer. A runny nose is one of its symptoms aside from a sore throat.

An antihistamine may be given by the doctor to relieve one of post-natal drip.  A nasal saline rinse may also help clear up the sinus.


Also known as whooping cough,  pertussis is a bacterial disease.  It is highly contagious, thus infants are recommended to receive a pertussis vaccine (which is the “P” in the DTaP shot).  The vaccine’s   effectiveness, though, weakens after 10 years.

Symptoms include a violent whoop sound cough, thus the name, plus runny nose and slight fever.  An individual with pertussis has difficulty breathing, as if gasping for breath after a long and intense series of coughing.

An antibiotics may give comfort and also keep the spread of bacteria to others.

What does your cough mean?

What does your cough mean?
What does your cough mean?

A cough is like an uninvited visitor who keeps bugging you, even robbing your time and other resources.  Reasons for a cough may be as simple as a common cold or flu to the most severe as lung cancer.  It is prudent that we understand the reason for our wheezing so we could take the proper medication.

Feeling a bit under the weather?  What does your cough mean?

Berlin Domingo

Devoted. Compassionate. Instinctive. Berlin loves to write personal narratives, thrilling discoveries, and mommy tips that make daily living the happiest. She shares a place called the small house with her husband and their four boys.