How to Stop ‘Mystery’ Coughs That Won’t Quit
About 10 to 20% of people will experience chronic cough in their lifetime. Figuring out the cause can take some detective work. Here are some possible culprits and tips to conquer that cough.
Sometimes a cough is like an unwelcome houseguest, sticking around way too long and making you miserable along the way.
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A persistent cough with no clear cause is termed by some as “mystery cough,” but it’s more accurately called chronic or idiopathic cough, says pulmonologist Sumita Khatri, MD.
“About 10 to 20% of the population has at some point had a cough that lingers more than eight weeks, which is the definition of chronic cough,” says Dr. Khatri. “It can be debilitating and very frustrating for people.”
When a cough persists for more than three weeks, it’s time to see a doctor. When solving coughing mysteries, Dr. Khatri looks at an assortment of intertwined possible causes that take some detective work to sort through. Here are four of the most common culprits.
“When it comes to chronic coughing, don’t lose hope,” Dr. Khatri says. “It may take some time, but most people determine the cause and find relief.”