September 25, 2023


Dry cough can silently ruin your health whether you are recovering from a Covid infection or facing the ill effects of air pollution. Here are common reasons why your cough just won’t go away.

Persistent or chronic coughs are becoming quite common nowadays. Covid, pollution, asthma, tuberculosis – there is a long list of factors that’s may be making our cough last for longer than it should. Cough is a protective reflex to clear airways. When cough persists for more than 8 weeks, it is labelled as chronic cough. Chronic cough is not only irritating and tiresome, but it can also lead to a range of other symptoms like vomiting, difficulty in sleeping due to frequents bouts of cough, headache, dizziness, loss of bladder control and even rib fractures.

Cough and cold are easy to ignore as you can still go about your daily chores with ease. You may feel it will go away with time, but when it doesn’t, some underlying conditions or inner damage may be blamed for it.

“There are multiple causes of chronic cough. Diagnosing exact cause of chronic cough is very important as cough can be one of the symptoms of underlying various chronic and life-threatening diseases like lung cancer, lung fibrosis,” says Dr Pujan Parikh, Consultant, Pulmonary Medicine, Sir HN Reliance Foundation Hospital.

Dr Parikh shares with us top causes of chronic cough in India.

1. Bronchial asthma

When your cough just doesn’t go away, you should get tested for asthma as at times coughing is the only symptom of asthma minus breathlessness.

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“Most common cause of chronic cough in young age group is untreated bronchial asthma. Many times, cough is the only symptom of asthma, these patients may not complain of any breathlessness. However seasonal variation, various triggering factors like dust, smoke, strong odour is there,” says Dr Parikh.

2. Covid or viral infections

Post Covid or post viral infections, the airways can become sensitive to allergens and that can cause chronic coughing.

“Many patients do complaint of chronic cough post viral infection. Sometimes post viral infection airways become hyper reactive to allergens,” says the pulmonologist.

3. Cancer, COPD

In elderly, lung cancer, lung fibrosis, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), heart failure, certain medicines like ACE inhibitors can cause chronic cough, says Dr Parikh.

4. Tuberculosis

Post Tuberculosis bronchiectasis leads to chronic cough. In India any person complaining of chronic cough need to evaluate for tuberculosis, says Dr Parikh.

5. Other factors

Gastro oesophageal reflux disease, foreign body aspiration, post nasal drip also leads to chronic cough, says the expert.

“Apart from causes mentioned above there are multiple causes of chronic cough. Chronic cough should not be ignored as delay can lead to irreversible damage to lung function,” concludes Dr Parikh.

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