Senior Care in Ballantyne, NC – Get the Facts on Possible Causes of Your Senior’s Cough
We all have experienced a stubborn cough – the one that keeps you up at night and interferes with your daily tasks. Some coughs last only a few days, while some last months. Some are caused by smoking, bronchitis or some other chronic condition and can last for many years. A cough is the chief complaint of most people who visit their doctors. It is general in nature and can mean something minor or severe, so how do you know? Here are some tips for family caregivers who are struggling with patients who have a chronic cough.
Length of Time is an Important Factor
If the cough has been lasting just a few minutes or a couple hours, then the likely cause is irritation. Perhaps your elderly loved one ate something too spicy or swallowed water too quickly. Dust, perfume and bug sprays can also cause the airway to become blocked. Coughing helps clear the airway.
If the cough has been lasting a bit longer – a few weeks or so – it’s likely due to the common cold. These acute coughs rarely require treatment, so while it may be irritating, let the cough run its course naturally.
After eight weeks, a cough becomes chronic. There are several main reasons for this. Post-nasal drip, asthma, acid reflux and COPD can all cause coughs to last longer than two months.
Type of Cough
The type of cough can also give clues as to what underlying disease your senior loved one may have. A dry cough – without any phlegm – typically points to a cold or asthma. If there is clear or yellow mucus, then that could mean the cold or flu. Green phlegm generally means bronchitis or some other viral disease. It could also mean pneumonia – get an X-ray if you have concerns. If the phlegm is pink or red, this is because you are coughing up blood. You have a serious situation on your hands and should seek medical attention as soon as possible. This could mean tuberculosis, pneumonia, lung cancer or heart failure.
Sound of the Cough
A loud, hacking cough is typically a smoker’s cough. A wheezing sound – a cough combined with a gasp for breath – is indicative of asthma. A gasping for breath that sounds like a “whoop” is caused by whooping cough, or pertussis. Children are usually vaccinated against this disease.
A cough by itself usually means asthma. A cough with a fever is typically a sign of infection. Coughing and shortness of breath are symptoms of COPD.
If you or an aging loved one are considering hiring senior care in Ballantyne, NC, contact Caring at Heart today. Our staff will answer all of your questions about caring for an aging adult. Serving Charlotte, Statesville, Ballantyne, Mooresville, Huntersville, Matthews, Concord, Gastonia, Pineville and Indian Trail. CALL TODAY (704) 837-4564.