A cough is defined as an action the body takes to get rid of substances that are irritating to the air passages. Treating a persistent cough will differ depending on the type of cough you have, and what is causing it.
An acute cough can be defined as a cough that is non persistent. They can be caused by an infection, with bronchitis, pneumonia and whooping cough being the most common cases. However, acute coughs may also be caused by non infectious causes. Examples of a non infectious acute cough include chronic bronchitis, asthma and emphysema. Dry coughs are also usually a form of an acute cough since they are likely caused by some type of infection. However, a persistent dry cough can indicate a chronic condition such as lung damage. Because an acute cough can take on many different forms, the treatment will vary depending on the cause of the acute cough. For example, individuals suffering from whooping cough are usually given antibiotics such as erythromycin. However, this treatment would be inappropriate for someone suffering from asthma.
If you suspect that you may have an acute cough, your best course of action is to visit a physician so they can properly diagnose your illness and prescribe the appropriate treatment.
A chronic cough is usually characterized by its persistence. It will usually last for more than 8 weeks and treatment may not be successful. This type of cough is usually caused by medical conditions within the lungs, environmental pollution and digestive causes. The most common cause of a chronic cough is cigarette smoke.
Because chronic coughs are usually associated with some type of damage to the throat or lungs, they are not always treatable. Since they are characterized by persistence, they will usually need some sort of medical intervention to be treated. The treatment you receive will depend on the cause of your condition. Antihistamines and decongestants have been shown to effectively treat symptoms related to allergies.
If the cough is caused by a bad infection, your doctor may prescribe some type of antibiotic. However, infections are less likely in this case.
In some cases, your cough may get to the point where it is interfering with the rest you get each night. If this is the case, your doctor can prescribe cough suppressants to sooth your throat while you rest.