When you’ve been experiencing a chesty cough for a while, it’s difficult to discern whether you’re just a bit stuffed up or it’s potentially more serious. The coughing symptoms could be indicative of something more problematic. In some situations, an x-ray is called for to rule out some health issues and see if there’s something more serious that it could be. What health issues cause a persistent cough?
Anyone who’s suffered from childhood or adult asthma will be familiar with the type of cough they have when they’re having an asthma attack. Some attacks are minor, indicating a slightly constricted airway due to irritation. Sometimes, the irritation is not specifically asthma-related – being allergic or sensitive to foods like fish or ginger can cause the airway to become overly sensitive, initiating an asthma attack. Other times, it’s a pure asthmatic reaction.
The coughing is very real, but if you (or the person suffering) has already been diagnosed with asthma, then a cough doesn’t necessary indicate a problem with the chest. Usually, it’s something that requires the appropriate asthma inhaler to lessen and then eliminate the symptoms.
Sometimes, asthma can worsen in severity and need a different inhaler, from a non-steroidal one to a stronger steroidal medicine until the symptoms have gotten under control. Doctors can also perform airway tests to verify the amount of air flow currently possible. Doing this helps determine where the true problem lies and whether a change in asthma medication will alleviate the coughing symptoms.
A Cough That Won’t Go Away
A cough is considered a chronic condition when it’s been around for several weeks; usually 6-8 weeks, typically. At this point, you’ll want to find out, can urgent care do chest x rays? Certainly, most doctors’ offices are not set up with x-ray facilities for chest x-rays.
A persistent cough is more of a cause for concern because it can indicate a major problem with the lungs, like pneumonia. It definitely should not go unattended. Tests can be performed, including x-rays, to determine if a bout of pneumonia is the reason for the coughing symptoms. Bear in mind, pneumonia can be fatal if untreated, so don’t delay being checked by a qualified doctor if you have been suffering from a cough for several weeks.
Again, if a cough has been around for 6+ weeks, get an appointment to be seen ASAP. Do not wait because if the symptoms become too severe, it may become untreatable due to a delay in seeking treatment.
Tuberculosis is a lung-based disease. It is caused by bacterial infection that reaches the lungs and may also get to other places in the human body too. There are various tests specifically for tuberculosis including an x-ray as the first line of defense. It sometimes requires a series of tests over a period to verify whether tuberculosis is the cause of the coughing. Some newer medical tests offer better clarity with tuberculosis diagnosis than older testing used to provide.
While catching tuberculosis isn’t all that common, if you work in an area where you could be exposed to people who are infected, that is a risk factor. Also, if you’ve traveled to the Far East into countries like the Philippines or Cambodia, these have periodic outbreaks of contagious tuberculosis. Therefore, if you’ve returned from worldwide travel and have come back with a cough that you cannot shift, consider whether the locations traveled to pose a risk to human health.
Tuberculosis can be fatal, so it’s important to get an x-ray as soon as possible to rule it out.
Suffering from allergies is a common cause of irritation with the lungs or chest. An allergic reaction can cause congestion making breathing through the nose more difficult. It’s possible that multiple allergies triggering at the same time could cause several lung-related problems. Getting an x-ray can help rule out whether it is allergies causing the coughing or something else entirely.
Detailed testing for known allergies is also possible. This is best done with children but works equally well with adults. The tester runs through the most likely things that cause allergic reactions to generate a detailed report about what things cause allergic reactions and those that do not.
There are various possible reasons for a cough. Obviously, the common cold is often the culprit and the cough goes away at the end of the cold like normal. However, when that’s not the case, it’s time to consider other possibilities because it’s not a regular situation to suffer from a persistent cough other than perhaps for regular smokers. Getting checked promptly becomes more important the longer the cough has persisted too.