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Conquer Your Cough: April 19, 2011

We all do it. Whether we're young or old. Sick or healthy. We all tend to cough from time to time and for various reasons. "There are several things that cause a cough," says Lee Memorial Health System internal medicine physician, Dr. Aldith Lewis. "Things like common colds, allergic rhinitis, sinus congestions, sinusitis, acid reflux, lung disease like COPD, bronchitis, emphysema. There are also certain medications also that can cause a cough."

Because we all do it, cough suppressants and over the counter remedies line store shelves. "I always tell my patients to talk to their doctors before they go to over-the-counter preparations." She warns that the side effects can be even more dangerous than the cough itself. "Some of these preparations have decongestants in them and those can raise your blood pressure so we have to be careful. Also, some of them have sugar so people with diabetes and high blood pressure should be very leery of taking over the counter medication."

So, how do you know if your cough is something more serious? "The cough becomes critical when it's persistent. Usually if your cough persists for 2 to 3 weeks, you really should come in for evaluation.

There maybe something else going on," adds Dr. Lewis. There are several different varieties of coughs: from acute to chronic. Always consult your family doctor for the best remedy.