Why Your Cough Isn’t Going Away (And How To Stop It)

black man coughing
It’s been over a week, but you’re still coughing.

Why?

Your Cold/Flu Has Irritated Your Airways

Unfortunately, the effects of viruses or bacteria can last long after the actual infection is gone. A chronic cough can be the most predicable aftermath of a cold or other viral infection, says Norman H. Edelman, MD, chief medical officer of the American Lung Association. While most cold symptoms may go away after a few days, your cough can hang around for weeks, even months, because viruses can cause your airways to become swollen and oversensitive.

You Have Asthma or Allergies

Allergies and asthma are common causes of prolonged coughing. A cold can even cause an asthma attack. In fact, some people learn they have asthma after suffering from a cold.

READ: Can Vitamin D Help Treat Asthma?

In addition, acid reflux and obstructive sleep apnea can also cause a chronic cough. Notify a doctor if you experience the below acid reflux symptoms:

• Burping
• Heartburn
• Ongoing cough
• Regurgitation

Also, see your doctor if you have symptoms of obstructive sleep apnea, such as:

• Insomnia
• Loud snoring
• Nighttime choking or gasping
• Recurrent awakenings
• Sleepiness during the day

You’re Stressed

Stress, especially when it’s chronic, can make colds last longer. To better control a lingering cough, slow down and reduce stress while you’re sick. Pushing yourself too hard may just make you sicker. One way to relax is to rest more – always aim for 7 to 9 hours of sleep a night.

READ: Breast Lumps: What’s Normal, What’s Not

You’re Not Drinking Enough Fluids

When you have a cold or the flu, you need to drink a lot of fluids. Water, juice and soup can help loosen mucus in your airways so you can cough it up and out. Alcohol and drinks with caffeine in them are not helpful choices, since they can dehydrate you (which is the opposite of what you need when you’re sick).

Another way to add moisture to your airways is by using a saline nasal spray.

READ: What Is Sickle Cell Disease?

Overusing OTC Nasal Decongestant Spray

Speaking of nasal sprays, there is such a thing as overdoing it. Over-the-counter (OTC) nasal decongestant sprays may…