Persistent cough? Five possible causes and why you should see your doctor!

Persistent coughing, along with wheezing, chest tightness and shortness of breath, is a characteristic symptom of asthma.

Last Updated: Aug 24, 2016, 13:50 PM IST

Zee Media Bureau/Salome Phelamei

New Delhi: A persistent cough can be tiresome, irritating and of course, frustrating for the people and their doctors alike! Usually, most coughs clear up within three weeks, but when they don't and linger for longer, this can signal serious underlying health conditions.

Here are some reasons why your cough is not improving and requires a doctor's visit:

Asthma

Persistent coughing, along with wheezing, chest tightness and shortness of breath, is a characteristic symptom of asthma - a respiratory disease which affects airways. Asthmatic coughs are usually dry coughs and may get worse at night or early in the morning.

Allergies

Sometimes, your cough can be caused by allergies. Inhaling pollen, dust, pet dander, and other airborne irritants can trigger a condition called allergic rhinitis, that can causecoughing, stuffy nose, sneezing, watery eyes, sore and scratchy throat.

Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD)

A lung condition that blocks airflow and makes it hard to breathe. This can cause a nagging cough along with shortness of breath, wheezing.

Gastro-oesophageal reflux disease (GORD)

This happens where the throat becomes irritated by leaking stomach acid.

Postnasal drip

Also termed upper airway cough syndrome, UACS, or post nasal drip syndrome, (PNDS), this occurs when mucus builds up in the back of the nose and throat, caused by a condition such as rhinitis or sinusitis.

See a doctor immediately if your cough does not improve in three weeks or is severe and getting worse.