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The ultimate guide To Know About Acute Cough Vs Chronic Cough

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Coughs can be classified into three types- acute, sub-acute or chronic cough, of which acute cough and chronic cough are the two main types. Coughing is a sudden, forceful hacking sound to release air and clear any irritation in the throat or airway. Here we will learn about acute vs chronic cough, its causes, treatment and what they are. 

Acute Cough Vs Chronic Cough – A Deep Glance

What Is Acute Cough? 

One can measure the severity of a cough from its duration. Acute cough lasts less than three weeks. Acute cough can be further divided into infectious that is caused by infections and non-infectious causes. In most cases, one can solve acute cough at home with self-care. One must consult a medical professional only if the cough does not settle and more serious symptoms like shortness of breath, fever etc are seen.

Infectious causes of acute cough include : 
  • Common cold and flu (viral upper respiratory infections).
  • Sinus infection
  • Acute bronchitis (inflammation of the lining of the bronchial tubes of the lung).
  • Pneumonia
  • Whooping cough 
acute vs chronic cough
Non-infectious causes of cough are: 
  • Environmental allergies
  • Emphysema asthma
  • Chronic bronchitis

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What Is Chronic Cough?

Chronic Cough requires medical attention and treatment. A cough that lasts more than eight weeks is characterized as a chronic cough. 

Common Causes Of Cough

Acute cough: 

  • Viruses such as common cold and influenza (flu).
  • Pneumonia 
  • Bacterial infection
  • Whooping cough 
  • Inhaling irritants like dust smoke and chemical particles
chronic cough
Chronic cough: 
  • Smoking cigarettes or tobacco products is a major cause of bronchitis.
  • Asthma.
  • Post-nasal drip (upper airway cough syndrome).
  • Gastroesophageal reflux disease. (GRED)

Other less common causes include medicine side effects, long term lung diseases and infections, constant exposure to airborne pollutants, harmful chemical particles in the air, etc. A small number of people who have a cough will have lung cancer. But most people with lung cancer will have chronic cough as an early symptom. The same is true for heart failure, a condition in which fluid builds up in the lungs and causes a chronic cough.

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Signs And Symptoms Of Cough

  • Acute Cough: Fever, chills, body ache, sore throat, nausea, vomiting, headaches, sinus irritation, runny nose, post-nasal drips are signs and symptoms of acute cough. Sputum or phlegm also indicate an infection exists. Yellow-green mucus also indicates there is an infection. It is observed as a non-infectious cause.
  • Chronic (persistent) cough: Signs and symptoms of chronic cough point to non-infectious causes are as follows: 
    1. Coughs with wheezing.
    2. Cough treated with inhalers or allergy medicines.
    3. Cough worsens when a person is exposed to certain activities or visits particular locations.
    4. Cough occurs when a person is exposed to certain chemicals and dust particles in the atmosphere.

One must take note and ensure to visit the doctor if they develop serious symptoms like deep wet cough producing lots of mucus, yellowish-green in colour, phlegm, chest tightness or shortness of breath and fever lasting more than 7 to 10 days. Contact your doctor if you notice that chough changes in character, and is combined with fever and sputum production or you cough up blood.

Diagnosis

  • Acute cough: The doctor can examine simply by interviewing the patient and doing a physical checkup and examination. Elderly and people with abnormal lung sound on examination may benefit from an X-ray to look up for pneumonia.
  • Chronic Cough: Doctors and medical professionals will not just rely on interviewing the patient and conducting a physical checkup. They will ask patients to get a chest X-ray to search for symptoms and problems to give the right medical treatment. 

Takeaway

This is all that one must know about acute cough vs chronic cough. These are the differences, causes, signs and symptoms for each of them, respectively. One must seek medical attention if the cough does not subside within a few days. 

For more informative articles, visit lifestyle.

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