8 Reasons You Can’t Stop Coughing

A cough that won’t go away is annoying. Most times, we can’t help but wonder if it’s a sign of a major health problem.

Coughs are either acute or chronic. An acute cough lasts for three weeks or less, while chronic coughs last longer than eight weeks. While†either type of cough can make our lives miserable by interfering with sleep or making it hard to breathe, you should be wary of a cough that lasts for more than a month.

Below are surprising reasons why your cough won’t go away.

woman wrapped in a blanket can't stop coughing

1. Acid Reflux May Be to Blame.

Acid reflux is a condition that occurs when stomach acid moves up the esophagus. It leads to heartburn and eventually gastroesophageal reflux (GERD), if†it occurs†frequently.†Research shows that GERD is linked to at least 25 percent of†persistent coughing cases.

Reflux usually causes coughing when the reflux rises above the esophagus, causing tiny droplets of stomach acid in the throat or windpipe, which tickle the throat, especially when you’re lying down.

Acid reflux can worsen a chronic cough caused by other conditions,†and not all people with acid reflux struggle with chronic coughing. Talk to your doctor, if you think you have acid reflux.

2. It Could Be a Sign of Asthma.

The most common sign of asthma is wheezing and shortness of breath. However, people with cough-variant asthma may not have these classic symptoms.

Most times, a dry and persistent cough is their only symptom. People with cough-variant asthma tend to cough more after exercising or at night, according to WebMD.

See a doctor if you suspect you have cough-variant asthma. If left untreated, it can lead to classic asthma symptoms, like wheezing and shortness of breath.

†3. Your High Blood Pressure Meds May Be†the Culprit.

Taking ACE inhibitors to lower your blood pressure can trigger coughing. Sometimes this effect is immediate, but in other cases it can occur after up to six months.

You may want to see your doctor if you start developing a dry cold while taking ACE inhibitors.

4. Youre Neglecting Your Cold

Ideally, a cough caused by the cold virus should last three weeks or less. However, the coughing can last longer, if you neglect your cold.

Many of us have habits that worsen colds. These poor habits can cause inflammation in the sinuses and nose,†which leads to†postnasal drip. As a result, your cough may last for weeks after the viral infection.

5. It May Be a Sign of Chronic Postnasal Drip

Postnasal drip, also referred to as “a tickle in the back of the throat”, occurs when mucus accumulates in the sinuses and drips down the back of the throat. As the mucus runs down the back of your throat, it causes a “tickle”, which triggers coughing.

Staying properly hydrated can ease coughs from postnasal drip. Harvard health also recommends steam inhalation and sleeping on propped up pillows.

6. It Could Be a Sign of Pneumonia

Sometimes coughing is a sign of a life-threatening condition such as pneumonia. Pneumonia coughs are usually painful and may produce blood or green phlegm.

Immediately see a doctor if these symptoms are accompanied by chest discomfort and shortness of breath.

7. Exposure to Irritants

Regular exposure to environmental irritantsósuch as cigarette smoke, air pollution, pet dander and dustócan keep you coughing month and after month.†Scientists explain that these irritants cause a reaction in the lung that triggers coughing.

8. Youre Overusing Nasal Sprays

Nasal decongestant sprays can be handy when you have a running nose but using them longer than three days can cause congestion, which can lead to postnasal drip and coughing. Avoid using nasal sprays for more than three days in a row.

Whats your secret to dealing with a persistent cough?

Related at Care2

Images via Getty


Renata B
Renata B12 days ago

Better to avoid nasal sprays and suffer a congested nose. My specialist, a long time ago, already told me this. They make the mucous membranes to contract so you can breathe, but this stresses the muscles and at some point they will end up unable to contract anymore, like an elastic that has been overused. And this IS bad. So I have stopped, just in case. Yes, it may be three days but it also depends on how often you spray in those three days. Better not to risk in my opinion.

Renata B
Renata B12 days ago

Be careful that medicines and remedies anti-reflux (including charcoal) often are not suitable for high blood pressure sufferers.

Leo C
Leo Custer16 days ago

Thanks for sharing.

Anne G
Anne G16 days ago

Thanks, interesting.

tammy C
tammy C17 days ago


Tabot T
Tabot T17 days ago

Thanks for sharing!

Marija M
Marija M17 days ago

Interesting comments...tks.

Melanie St. Germaine

A persistent cough was the reason my stepmother has lung cancer. Get a chest x-ray!

Peggy B
Peggy B18 days ago


Carole R
Carole R18 days ago

Good to know.