Coughing News

A cough can be a mild inconvenience or a severe symptom that is a warning sign of serious disease. In the most scientific of definitions, coughing is actually a reflex. It occurs when your body needs to force air and secretions out of the lungs.

Of course, the way a cough is viewed medically will vary widely, depending on the severity of the cough, its duration and the type of secretions it produces. For a mildly scratchy throat that produces a cough, you may not need to do anything. If the cough won’t go away or is producing colored mucus or even blood, then it is much more serious.

What to Look for in a Cough

When a cough is serious, you can usually tell that something needs to be done. For example, a cough that produces clear, pale or yellow mucus may be a sign of a cold or the flu. If the colors you see are more tan or green, then it could be chronic bronchitis or pneumonia, which warrants a trip to the doctor’s office. And a cough that is pink, frothy or bloody requires emergency medical care; it could be a sign of severe lung problems, such as pulmonary edema.

If a cough is accompanied by shortness of breath or wheezing, it might be a sign of an asthma attack. Use rescue medication or seek emergency care if medication isn't available.

Other problems that can be related to coughing include croup in children, tuberculosis, congestive heart failure and lung cancer. As always, a good rule of thumb is to consult with a health care provider whenever a cough becomes more severe, produces alarming symptoms or doesn’t go away in a reasonable amount of time. It should be noted that smoking is also directly tied to coughing and many of the diseases that come along with coughing. If you’re a smoker, the best advice when it comes to coughing is to quit.

SOURCES: American Academy of Pediatrics; American Academy of Family Physicians

Date Posted
Article Title
11/8/2017
11/8/2017
Treating the Cough of the Common Cold

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10/23/2017
Kids, Don't Touch the Toys at the Doctor's Office

Pediatricians' group updates infection-prevention guidelines for medical offices

10/2/2017
Whooping Cough and Pregnancy

Whooping cough vaccine during pregnancy can prevent illness in babies, new study finds

9/28/2017
Whooping Cough Shot Works, But Many Moms-to-Be Skip It: CDC

Timely vaccination can prevent three-quarters of cases in newborns

8/7/2017
What Diabetics Need to Know About Over-the-Counter Meds

Many cold, cough and headache remedies contain carbs, and as much alcohol as glass of beer or wine, pharmacist says

8/2/2017
Medical Reality Catches Up to Science Fiction

Scientists unveil their Star Trek-like 'tricorder' to track human health

4/3/2017
Vaccinating Pregnant Moms Protects Babies From Whooping Cough

Benefit is dramatic for newborns who are too young to be vaccinated, researchers say

12/30/2016
Is It a Cold or the Flu? Here's How to Tell

Symptoms can be similar, but flu hits faster, is more likely to lead to complications

11/2/2016
Health Tip: Coping With a Chronic Cough

Suggestions to help tame the hacking

9/19/2016
Codeine Not Safe for Kids, Pediatricians Warn

How it is metabolized is too unpredictable, could cause death, report finds

5/11/2016
Do You Know the 'Hidden' Signs of Asthma?

Fewer than half aware that chest pain, trouble sleeping may indicate adult breathing trouble, survey finds

3/15/2016
Vaccine Refusal a Driving Force Behind Measles Outbreaks, Study Finds

As trend continues, researcher fears more outbreaks of whooping cough, too

2/5/2016
Waning Whooping Cough Immunity Blamed in Outbreaks

Teens have very little protection just a few years after vaccination, study finds

1/29/2016
Chemical That Can Irritate Lungs Found in Flavored E-Cigarettes

Highest levels seen in cherry versions, but levels still far below federal safety standards

1/5/2016
Try Home Remedies for Child's Cough or Cold

Over-the-counter treatments are riskier and costlier, says American Academy of Pediatrics

12/22/2015
Health Tip: Struggling With Chronic Cough?

Try these at-home remedies

10/20/2015
Health Tip: Considering Cough Medicine?

It may not be appropriate

9/30/2015
Health Tip: What's Behind That Cough?

Here are potential triggers

9/8/2015
Siblings Now Main Source of Infants' Whooping Cough: CDC

A change from past years, when Mom posed the biggest risk of infection

2/19/2015
Ebola Transmission Through Cough Possible, But Not Likely: Experts

Researchers suggest droplets could expose caregivers to lethal virus

12/16/2014
'Kids' Diseases' Now Hitting Adults

Doctors explain reasons behind surge in cases of chicken pox, mumps, whooping cough and the like

12/4/2014
California Infants Hit Hard by Whooping Cough Epidemic: Report

Health care providers urged to recommend vaccine to pregnant women, to protect their babies

11/26/2014
Steer Clear of Cold Meds for Babies, FDA Advises

Drugs carry serious risks, and most infants, toddlers recover with rest and extra care

11/11/2014
Whooping Cough Vaccine Seems Safe in Pregnancy, Study Finds

Shot helps protect newborns against potentially deadly bacteria, experts say

10/27/2014
Placebo Treatment May Quiet Kids' Cough

Parents report a spoonful of agave nectar or flavored water reduced symptoms

10/23/2014
Airborne Transmission of Ebola Highly Unlikely, Experts Say

No threat foreseen from public sniffles, coughs

9/11/2014
Tear Gas Health Effects May Last Weeks

Researchers worry that nearby residents may suffer harm too

6/25/2014
Persistent Cough in Kids Can Often Be Whooping Cough

In British study, 1 in 5 cases of chronic hacking turned out to be the respiratory ailment

2/24/2014
Health Tip: Learn the Signs of Whooping Cough

Initial symptoms may mimic a cold

11/11/2013
Fewer ER Visits for Kids After Cold Medicine Restrictions

CDC study ties improvement to label changes, voluntary manufacturer withdrawals

10/21/2013
Fewer Infants Hospitalized for Whooping Cough, Study Finds

Increase in teens vaccinated against the infection has resulted in decrease in babies contracting it, researchers suggest

9/30/2013
Whooping Cough Outbreaks Tied to Parents Shunning Vaccines

Study finds that areas with high rates of nonmedical vaccine exemptions also had high number of cases

9/27/2013
Health Tip: Dealing With a Child's Cough

Many times, it won't require medical treatment

8/12/2013
Health Tip: Comfort a Child With Croup

But if the toddler is under 4, hold the cough medicine

6/19/2013
Many U.S. Adults Under-Vaccinated Against Whooping Cough, Survey Finds

Only 20 percent got shot within last 10 years

5/22/2013
COPD May Be Over-Diagnosed Among Uninsured

Patients thought to have lung condition were re-evaluated in small study

5/20/2013
Study: Older Whooping Cough Vaccine More Effective

But it was phased out because of side effects; newer version works, study notes

4/23/2013
Many Parents Give Kids Cold Medicines When They Shouldn't, Survey Finds

They often miss fine print on the label warning against use in children younger than 4 years old

3/17/2013
Know What's in Your Child's Medications, FDA Warns

Mixing cold, allergy drugs can cause harm, agency says

3/11/2013
More Evidence Whooping Cough Protection Wanes

Vaccine still recommended, although it appears to weaken after fifth dose, study finds

2/27/2013
12/19/2012
Most Coughs Don't Respond to Antibiotics, Study Confirms

Amoxicillin may cause more harm than good unless pneumonia is suspected, researchers say

12/3/2012
Ex-President George H.W. Bush Remains Hospitalized

88-year-old being treated for bronchitis and lingering cough

11/21/2012
15 Million in U.S. Have COPD, a Lung Disease

Prevalence of the chronic condition is highest in Kentucky, CDC says

11/9/2012
Women's Respiratory Symptoms May Vary With Menstrual Cycle

For example, study found wheezing highest on days 10 to 22

10/24/2012
Antibiotics Don't Ease Coughs in Kids With Common Cold: Study

No treatment is sometimes the best option, experts say

10/24/2012
CDC Panel: All Pregnant Women Should Get Whooping Cough Shot

Mother's immunity can be passed on to her child, experts say

10/5/2012
For People With Lung Disease, Colds Are Worse With School Kids Around

Study found sore throat, runny nose, cough were all more likely

10/2/2012
Vitamin D Won't Save You From Common Cold, Latest Study Says

Healthy adults who took supplements did no better than those on placebos