There are reasons why you really shouldn’t ignore that cough if you’re coughing up a lung. I know, it’s easy to just Google it, but then googling ‘a cough’ is useless. We all know the internet is simply going to confuse you into thinking you have lung cancer, or something worse.

However, there are still times that you might want to be a little cautious, and this is one of them. Since catching diseases early can prevent a lot of problems, make the appointment as soon as you can. 

You Really Shouldn’t Ignore That Cough!

1There’s color

If, when coughing, anything comes out that looks even remotely like blood, you really shouldn’t ignore that cough. Go get it checked out immediately.

So, red, pink, faint pink, a hint of pink — all bad! It can be a sign of bronchitis or pneumonia, which need to be taken care of immediately.

Yellow and green are bad too, as they usually signify an infection in your respiratory system.

2A cough simply won’t go away

It’s common for people to continue coughing for a few days up to a week after recovering from a cold. However, you really shouldn’t ignore that cough if your cough is persistent — even when they are just mild coughs — it can mean something serious.

3Your cough comes with heartburn

In this case, you might have gastroesophageal reflux disease, or GERD, which is a persistent form of acid reflux. A weak muscle at the top of your stomach can cause acid to move backward and irritate the esophagus — your food pipe — and throat.

While this is usually not a life-threatening disease, if left untreated it can lead to problematic infections.

4Itchy eyes not from allergies

You don’t have a known allergy. If you cough, sneeze and have itchy eyes, you most likely have an allergy, and it’s best to figure out exactly what you’re allergic to as soon as possible.

This is especially so when the itchy eye medicine doesn’t work. Some people are allergic to strange things, from leather to ink to electromagnetic fields!

5You’ve just been abroad

If you have traveled somewhere outside the US or Europe, you really shouldn’t ignore that cough. You should know tuberculosis runs rampant in many parts of the world, and a significant portion of the world’s population carries it without showing any symptoms.

TB is rare, but if it’s been weeks of coughing and it’s starting to get painful, go see a doctor ASAP and tell them where you’ve traveled.

6You’ve touched a dead bird

I don’t know why you would want to do so, but if you have, and you find yourself with a fever and a cough, it’s a bad sign. Two words: bird flu.

Even if your chances of getting bird flu from a dead bird is slim, many diseases are carried by birds, and simply being around a lot of birds can put you at risk.

For example, histoplasmosis, a lung infection caused by fungal spores found in bird droppings, can cause dry coughs and a fever and may be fatal, especially in children.

7You’ve inexplicably lost weight

Weight loss is good, but inexplicable weight loss is worrying. If you also feel tired all the time and start getting dry coughs, you really shouldn’t ignore that cough. You might want to get yourself checked for pulmonary fibrosis, a lung condition of unknown causes.

8Cold air makes you cough

Most people get asthma when as children, but cases of adult-onset are not uncommon. If you tend to cough and feel a difficulty breathing when the air is cold, it could be asthma.

9You’re taking blood pressure medicine

Some blood pressure medicines are known to cause coughing. They are a class called “ACE inhibitors”. Ask your doctor if your medicine is one and let them know about the side effect. You will most likely be prescribed a different medicine.

10You have just gotten work done on your house

With any renovation or construction work, dust can be expected. But, if after the dust has settled and been vacuumed off, you still find yourself coughing, you really shouldn’t ignore that cough.

It might be worth checking out if your house is contaminated by fiberglass, which is often used for insulation. Fiberglass dust contains sharp, tiny particles of glass, which damages and irritates your lungs, and is very hard to get rid of.

11Your cough is accompanied by a sense of dread

This may sound strange, but in some people, especially those with an anxiety disorder, feelings of fear, nervousness, and stress can trigger a coughing fit, ranging from mild to severe.

If you have no other symptoms other than feeling extremely tense when you cough, it might be wise to seek help or find ways address the cause of the anxiety.

Remember that in most cases coughing is quite harmless and will go away on its own. So, don’t start panicking yet the next time you start coughing.

Your risk of respiratory diseases increases astronomically if you smoke, in which case you really shouldn’t ignore that cough. You should probably be more careful and get a professional diagnosis if your cough persists for more than a week and we suggest stop smoking.

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Mikki Donaldson is a southern girl, born in “hard time Mississippi.” She, like her town, has seen many hurricanes, but bounce back each time. Mikki is no different from any other person with a passion, late to bed and early to rise. The writer adores her family and seeks to leave her mark on this remarkable world.