Everyone coughs, some more than others. Many people have experienced a cough caused by a cold or flu, the kind of cough that comes on strong for a few days during an illness, and then tapers off as we start to feel better. What if the cough just won’t go away? While having a cough is not normally harmful, there are times when it could be hinting at other serious conditions.
What is a nagging cough?
A nagging cough is often a persistent dry cough that has lasted 3 weeks or longer. The cough can hang around after the cold and flu symptoms have resolved. A nagging or lingering cough is a frustrating symptom that can affect work, sleep, and social or recreational activities.
A cough is considered “acute” if it lasts less than three weeks and “chronic” if it lasts longer than eight weeks. Some causes of a nagging cough include:
• Postnasal drip
• Treatment with ACE inhibitors
• Heart failure
• Psychological disorders
The fatigue and discomfort of a nagging cough are annoying enough without scheduling a doctor’s appointment. However, lingering coughs could hint at a more serious illness. The Mayo Clinic recommends seeing a doctor if a cough lingers for weeks, especially one that brings up sputum or blood, disturbs sleep or affects school or work.