Constant coughing shouldn’t define your days.
Chronic or not, coughing is a respiratory affliction that no one should have to live with day in and day out. Disruptive and bothersome, this ailment is prevalent in seniors and has quickly become one of the most common illness-related reasons for urgent care visits. Due to the ambiguity of this symptom, it’s often difficult to pinpoint the source of the affliction and its severity. However, the significance of chronic cough in seniors should not be overlooked, as it could signify a larger health issue that is far more serious than a mere reaction to allergies or a throat tickle. If you’ve recently noticed that your elderly loved one has had a persistent cough, DispatchHealth can help. We offer convenient, in-home urgent care for seniors with non-life-threatening chronic cough and other respiratory complaints, allowing them to receive the adequate medical attention they need in the comfort of their own homes instead of sitting in a germ-infested waiting room.
If this is an emergency, please call 911 or go to the nearest emergency department.
Chronic coughing symptoms & when to seek treatment
While occasional coughing is normal, a persistent cough lasting longer than eight weeks is considered chronic and should be medically assessed. Chronic coughing is not only an annoyance to one’s self and others but can also disrupt sleep patterns and, in more extreme scenarios, can lead to lightheadedness, vomiting, and rib fractures. In seniors, these severe cases are much more likely and dangerous, as an aged body typically can’t handle extreme respiratory distress and is very prone to bone breakage.
Chronic coughing could be a symptom of minor concern—such as a common respiratory cold, acid reflux, or allergies—but it could also indicate a serious health concern such as:
- Acute bronchitis
- Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD)
- Congestive heart failure (cardiac cough)
This respiratory affliction could also occur with other symptoms, which may include:
- A runny or stuffy nose
- Postnasal drip
- Frequent throat clearing and sore throat
- Wheezing and shortness of breath
- Heartburn or a sour taste in your mouth
- Coughing up blood
Because chronic coughing could be linked to any number of health concerns, keeping tabs on other symptoms experienced with your respiratory affliction is important for diagnosis and treatment. Seniors should seek treatment for chronic coughing if it lingers for weeks, is painful, brings up sputum or blood, disturbs sleep, or affects day-to-day activities.
What causes chronic coughing in seniors?
Causes of chronic coughing in seniors stretch far and wide, making it important to seek medical attention if you’ve noticed a persistent, labored cough in your elderly loved one. Common causes of chronic cough for older adults are as follows:
- Acid reflux
- Postnasal drip
How to prevent respiratory afflictions in seniors
Fortunately, there are a few steps you can take to help your elderly loved one manage their chronic cough. In addition to having it medically assessed, chronic cough can be soothed with prescribed or over-the-counter allergy medications for postnasal drip as well as cough suppressants. There are also a few home remedies that might help manage the persistence of the cough, including:
- Cough drops or hard candies
- Drinking a lot of fluids
- Humid air
- Avoiding tobacco smoke
If left untreated
If left untreated, chronic coughing can severely impair the elderly. The action of coughing itself contracts muscles without warning, propelling a resting body into motion at all hours of the day and night. Chronic cough could also be a sign of a larger health concern. From disrupting sleep to potential rib fractures, ignoring a chronic cough can do more harm over time.
If your elderly loved one is experiencing respiratory discomfort and constant coughing, you don’t have to go it alone. DispatchHealth is here to help. We can treat coughing, asthma, bronchitis, and many other respiratory exacerbations in seniors from the comfort of their own homes, helping them find the source of the cough and recover without ever having to take a trip to the ER. DispatchHealth also accepts most major forms of health insurance—including Medicare and Medicaid—offering an affordable flat rate for uninsured patients. And because we covet continuity of care, our teams are sure to send a detailed follow-up report to your elderly loved one’s primary care physician after our visit, and we can send any necessary prescriptions to their pharmacy.
Turn to DispatchHealth if your elderly loved one needs treatment for coughing. Contact us via a phone call, our app, or on our website to receive care at their doorstep within just a couple of hours.