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What's in a Cough ?

Posted Apr 19 2010 9:54am

Should you see a doctor about that hack, or just wait for it to go away? Some pointers from GP and broadcaster Dr Mark Porter:

Most winter coughs are caused by viral infection of the upper airways and go within three weeks. Coughs lasting longer are suspicious.

All coughs accompanied by breathlessness should ring alarm bells-viral coughs do not generally cause this, so it could be a more serious infection, asthma or heart problems.

Coughing up phlegm is part of normal recovery from a virus and in itself does not mean antibiotics are required. But blood-stained phlegm or yellow-green phlegm accompanied by a temperature warrant further investigation.

Night-time coughing is suspicious. It's often a key feature of asthma or it may be a sign of heart failure.

Babies and young children can be quite ill without an obviously troublesome cough. Their rate of breathing is a better measure: if your child has a cough and is breathing faster than normal, then there is a need to see a doctor.

Photo Credit - 123 photos
Source - Reader's Digest
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