Causes of Cough

There are many types of cough including:

  • acute
  • chronic
  • divorceable

Acute simply means sudden and short term whereas chronic means over a longer period. NHS UK refers to chronic as persistent and lasting for more than 8 weeks.

Coughing can be caused by:

  • infection, such as a cold or flu, anything that affects your airways or structures in close proximity such as tonsils
  • allergies such a hay fever
  • flare up of asthma or COPD (Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary DIsease) – this can then become chronic
  • walking through the beauty section of a department store with perfumes being sprayed right left and centre
  • hair spray, deodorant – anything in an aerosol unfortunately
  • cleaning products – this is trial and error, but the stronger products tend to be more troublesome
  • something more ominous which is why you should never ignore a cough and always consult your doctor if you are concerned
  • wine/beer/cider. Alas they contain sulphites which can trigger a cough in susceptible individuals. Switch to purer forms of alcohol such as gin or vodka!
  • salicylates
  • dust/pollution
  • asthma, if you are unlucky enough you could develop cough variant asthma
  • post nasal drip – often associated with allergies. These people can be professional nose blowers and throat clearers. If you come across one in a public place try not to meet their eye when they are being disgusting because it seems to encourage them
  • reflux (AKA indigestion) (AKA GORD which is not a plant but gastro-oesophageal reflux disease)
  • smoking – even being in the presence of a smoker will make me cough till I successfully clear a radius of at least 20 metres. (Passive inhalation of cannabis does not make me cough though and I highlight passive!!)
  • certain heart medication such as tablets for high blood pressure (ACE inhibitors)

I appreciate that there may be other causes, I have tried to cover the main ones. I would like to point out that this information is simply to inform. I would always suggest that you consult your GP if you have any concerns about a persistent cough.

I plan to post more about sulphites and salicylates soon. I have extensively researched the area of sulphites and have recently discovered the potential dangers of salicylates.

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