In winter, when we are plagued by cough and hoarseness, the first thing we think of is a cold. But possible other causes also have to be considered: for example an influenza, which should be treated by a doctor, but also asthma as well as COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease), which in the case of a viral infection can exacerbate. In this case special caution is called for.
Apart from respiratory diseases, heart failure can also cause coughing (cardiac asthma). Especially among children and older people, possible aspiration of foreign particles also needs to be considered. And finally, coughing could be a side-effect of medication, such as the dry cough when taking ACE inhibitors. In the case of hoarseness, especially if unaccompanied by other cold symptoms and/or if persisting for longer than two weeks, a consultation with the doctor is called for.
Should cough and hoarseness be caused by a trivial respiratory infection, then it is a case for self-medication. Ninety percent of all common colds are caused by viruses, bacteria only play a minor role. If there is a virus infection, bacteria seize that opportunity to appear, but such superinfections are rather rare. For a long time, a green colouring of the mucus was seen as an unmistakable indicator of bacteria involvement, however, systematic sputum analyses have not validated this theory. Based on this, antibiotics are as a rule not indicated for cough and hoarseness. However, should the complaints not subside without antibiotics, a visit to the doctor is unavoidable.
|Deutsch / German||Englisch / English|
|Atemnot||respiratory distress, dyspnoea, difficulty in breathing|
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