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Cough Specialist

Catherine Fuller, MD

Allergy, Asthma, & Immunology Specialist located in West Los Angeles, CA

Coughing is common. Most people do not need to seek medical attention when they have a cough, as it often stops on its own after a few days. If your coughing becomes severe, painful, or lasts for several weeks, it could be a sign of a serious illness or allergies and you should call or schedule an appointment online with Catherine Fuller, MD, in the Brentwood area of Los Angeles.

Cough Q & A

What is a cough?

Everyone experiences a cough from time to time. Coughing is a quick release of air out of the lungs, which can be an involuntary or deliberate action. Coughing naturally clears the throat and airways of irritants, mucus, fluids, and other foreign particles. 

The process of a cough starts by breathing air in, then experiencing increased pressure in the lungs and throat, followed by a quick release of air that moves over the vocal cords as it exits your body, making a sound as it does so.

What causes coughing?

Everyone coughs occasionally to clear their throat and airways. Frequent coughing or recurrent coughing for several weeks is often a sign of an illness or underlying health problems. Coughs can be caused by colds and other infectious diseases, viruses, and bacteria. Coughing is also caused by:

  • Reflex reaction to clear the throat
  • Respiratory tract infection
  • Smoking
  • Asthma
  • Medicines
  • Vocal cord dysfunction
  • Pneumonia
  • Whooping cough
  • Croup
  • Postnasal drip
  • Heart failure
  • Acid reflux

Dr. Fuller can help determine the cause of your cough. Schedule an appointment if your coughing lasts more than a couple of weeks.

How can I stop coughing?

Constant coughing makes it hard to sleep or work, causes chest pain, and leaves you feeling tired. To stop coughing, the underlying cause, whether that’s allergies, a cold, or something else, needs to be treated. But to get relief, you can try the following home remedies:

  • Stay hydrated
  • Swallow honey
  • Drink hot beverages
  • Eliminate allergens
  • Sleep on an incline
  • Take steamy showers
  • Use a humidifier
  • Gargle saltwater
  • Use a saline spray or nasal irrigation

When should I see a doctor for a cough?

Most coughs will improve within two weeks with or without medicine. If you have a cough that continues beyond two weeks without improvement, you should contact Dr. Fuller to ensure your cough is not a symptom of a more serious problem. You should also seek medical care if you have a cough combined with other symptoms, such as:

  • Chest pain
  • Headache
  • Fever
  • Fatigue or drowsiness
  • Confusion

If you cough up blood or have trouble breathing, seek emergency medical attention. To determine the cause of your cough, schedule an appointment online, or call Dr. Fuller today.