5 Surefire Signs Your Persistent Cough Could Be More Serious Than a Cold

persistent cough

A persistent cough is a symptom of colds and the flu, as everyone who’s ever ridden public transportation is aware of. However, did you know that a persistent cough can also be a symptom of something more serious, like bronchitis, pneumonia, and lung cancer?

Before you panic, keep reading. We’re going over 5 signs that your cough could be more than just a common cold.

1. Coughing Lasts Longer Than 4 Days

Most common colds will clear up within 2-4 days. If you’re experiencing symptoms of a persistent cough, whether it’s a dry cough or one with phlegm, you should see a doctor.

Chronic coughing usually indicates a more serious infection like bronchitis, pneumonia, or another respiratory infection. If your cough is lasting for weeks, months, or even years, it could be a sign of lung cancer

2. Symptoms Return Over Time

You might think you’re in the clear: your cough has cleared up, and you’re feeling great!

But then, lo and behold, the cough is back. Returning symptoms like this usually indicate a “rebound illness” or “superinfection”.

During your first bout of symptoms, you might’ve had a normal cold. When you have a cold, your immune system is compromised, leaving you more vulnerable to other types of infection.

If your symptoms return, it’s likely you have a new, and potentially more serious, condition. 

3. Coughing Up Blood

If your cough includes coughing up blood, you need to see a doctor ASAP. This is a symptom of a number of serious illnesses, including:

  • Lung cancer
  • Chronic lung conditions
  • Pneumonia
  • Bronchitis
  • Lung tumor

Coughing up phlegm and/or saliva is normal during colds, but should be addressed by a doctor if it persists for more than a week.

4. Persistent Cough Plus Fever

If you have a high fever, anything over 103 degrees F, is a sign of a serious infection. If you have a lower fever (anything above normal) for more than 3-4 days, you should also see a doctor, as that’s also a sign of something more serious than a cold.

For children, anything over 100 degrees is cause for concern. To be safe, if your child has a fever for more than 24 hours, you should consult with a physician.

5. Cough Accompanied By Chest Pain, Wheezing, and/or Shortness of Breath

When your persistent cough is accompanied by any of those symptoms, you likely have a respiratory or sinus infection. These things can also be symptoms of other more serious illnesses like lung cancer, tuberculosis, and more.

What’s Your Diagnosis?

Hopefully, this article can help you decide whether your persistent cough is cause for concern. If you think it’s not that serious, bundle up on the couch, sip on some tea, and watch your favorite sick day movie.

If you noticed any of the other signs on this list, contact us at Coastal Urgent Care of Bossier. We can get you in for an evaluation as soon as possible so you can get the right treatment to get you back on track.