With the cooling of the weather and the opening of schools, colds and coughs began to be seen very much. Stating that there are many conditions that can cause cough, but cough can be caused by allergies and asthma, Istanbul Allergy Founder, Allergy and Asthma Association President Prof. Dr. Ahmet Akçay gave detailed information about cough. Why Do We Cough? What Are the Symptoms of a Cold? What Causes Allergic Cough? What Are the Symptoms of Allergies? How Do We Know if a Cough Is From a Cold, Allergy or Asthma?
Why Do We Cough?
Coughing may occur due to natural irritation of the throat or respiratory tract. Simply put, it responds to receptors in the throat, trachea, and lungs, leading to the activation of the "cough center" in the brain. Coughing is a way of expelling unwanted substances. There are many conditions that can cause coughing. Allergies and asthma are also common conditions that can cause coughing.
What Causes Allergic Cough?
An allergic cough is primarily caused by an overactive immune system that overreacts to certain substances to which the body is exposed. These reactions occur when the body mixes harmless substances with harmful substances and thus initiates a defense system to fend off them. Histamine is responsible for a runny nose, cough, sneezing and swelling of the nasal passages, so the patient begins to experience cold-like symptoms even if they do not have a cold. Allergy coughs are typically caused by swelling or irritation of the airways. If you also develop a runny nose, you may also experience a cough when mucus hanging in your sinuses drips into the back of your throat.
How Do We Know if a Cough Is From a Cold, Allergy or Asthma?
The common cold is very common. Most of us can get three or four colds a year; It can be seen more frequently in children. But allergies and asthma are also quite common. All three of these conditions have symptoms of coughing. The cough may be dry or phlegmatic, intermittent, persistent, and range from mild to severe. However, most coughs are easy to treat as long as you understand the root cause. Knowing the differences between asthma, allergies and a cold cough is the main way to manage the condition.
What Are the Symptoms of a Cold?
When you have a mild cold, the only symptoms may be a runny nose, mild sore throat, cough, and general fatigue. If your cold is more serious, you may also have body aches and pains all over the place, fever, trouble sleeping, and your cough and sore throat may be worse.
What Are the Symptoms of Allergies?
Some of the symptoms of allergies are the same as the common cold. For example, you may have a runny nose and watery eyes. However, itchy eyes, frequent bouts of sneezing, and skin irritation are common symptoms of allergies.
Differences Between Allergic Cough and Cold
There are significant differences in cough symptoms associated with the common cold and allergic cough.
Cough caused by an allergy:
It lasts for days or months as long as allergens are present.
It can occur at any time of the year, unlike the common cold, which is most common during the cold seasons. Autumn is also a season when allergens are common, and allergy symptoms may increase during this season.
It may occur with sudden symptoms in cases of exposure to allergens.
Allergic cough may be accompanied by runny nose, itchy and watery eyes, sore throat, but never with fever and body aches. If you have a cough and you have a fever, it is likely that the cough is caused by a cold.
A cold also very rarely lasts longer than 14 days, so if the cough doesn't go away after two weeks and doesn't seem to be responding to cold treatments and medications, it's more likely to be an allergy.
Allergies can cause sinus and middle ear infections
Sinus and middle ear infections may accompany allergic cough. These conditions are considered indirect effects of an allergic reaction. The sinuses become very sensitive due to swelling in the nasal passageways, which increases the risk of sinus infection, also known as sinusitis. Symptoms of sinus infections include pain around the sinuses (affecting the forehead, upper and both sides of the nose, upper jaw and upper teeth, cheekbones, and between the eyes), sinus discharge, headache, sore throat, and severe congestion.
What's the Difference Between Asthma Cough and Other Conditions?
Asthma has other symptoms in common with colds and allergies, but the symptoms that set it apart are:
- A cough that gets worse at night or when laughing or physically active
- difficulty in breathing,
- Feeling of tightness in the chest,
- Shortness of breath,
Children with asthma may also experience colds much more often than expected or find it takes much longer to recover. Therefore, asthma must be kept under control.
Cough Severity Matters
Cold symptoms are usually mild and can be easily controlled with some cold medicines.
Allergy symptoms may also be mild, but their severity may vary depending on the severity of the allergy and may negatively affect the routine of daily life.
Asthma symptoms can be extremely severe if left untreated. Therefore, asthma must be treated and kept under control. Untreated asthma can lead to asthma attacks and more serious conditions.
How Many Days Does the Cough Go?
Typically, the common cold lasts for about seven to 10 days, and the most severe symptoms begin to improve after a few days. Allergies, if left untreated, cause symptoms for as long as the allergen is present. Therefore, if your cough does not start to improve after a week, your symptoms may not be caused by a cold.
Asthma can come and go quickly. Attacks may come on suddenly and subside rapidly. Mild attacks can last for minutes, but more severe attacks can last for days.