Here’s why you’re still coughing even after your cold clears

When the virus that causes a cold exits your body, sometimes it leaves behind certain remnants that can be just as annoying.

Here’s why you’re still coughing even after your cold clears
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Here’s why you’re still coughing even after your cold clears

Sneezing, sore throat, runny and or stuffy nose as well as fever are some of the symptoms of the common cold. One symptom that tends to linger when you think you’re finally out of the woods is the cough. You may still find yourself coughing even when you are generally feeling fine. There are some health reasons that could explain why a cough lingers even when the cold clears.

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You might want to get checked for this respiratory infection if you’re still coughing days or weeks after all symptoms of a cold are no longer visible. Bronchitis is more common in colder weather and is often brought on by a common cold, sore throat or the flu, according to the NHS:

Bronchitis is an infection of the main airways of the lungs (bronchi), causing them to become irritated and inflamed.

The main symptom of acute bronchitis (the other type is chronic bronchitis) is a hacking cough, which may bring up clear, yellow-grey or greenish mucus (phlegm), the health service adds. According to Mayo Clinic:

Because most cases of bronchitis are caused by viral infections, antibiotics aren't effective. However, if your doctor suspects that you have a bacterial infection, he or she may prescribe an antibiotic.
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Waking pneumonia

Described by Mayo Clinic as a type of pneumonia that isn’t severe enough to warrant bed rest or hospitalization, the symptoms of walking pneumonia can sometimes be confused with those of the common cold. According to Methodist Healthcare:

If you have walking pneumonia, you may find yourself coughing so much that your chest becomes sore. And unlike a cold that resolves in a matter of days, the nagging cough associated with walking pneumonia could persist for weeks.
​While it's possible for people with walking pneumonia to (slowly) recover without treatment, many patients with a confirmed… infection benefit from antibiotics. Antibiotics are very effective against walking pneumonia—typically a five to seven day course is prescribed."

Acid reflex

This might sound farfetched to you, but experts at Very Well Health state that your lingering cough could actually be a result of acid reflex.

When you have gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), acid from your stomach backs up into your esophagus. If the acid is breathed in, it can make you cough. Irritation from the acid reflux in the throat can also cause coughing.

Persistent cough could be treated with antibiotics, but if you’re starting to get concerned over how long it’s taking to clear, you should see a doctor.

Sources used:

Best Life: 5 Reasons Your Cough Is Hanging On After Your Cold Is Gone, According to a Doctor

NHS: Bronchitis

Mayo Clinic: Walking pneumonia: What does it mean?

Methodist Healthcare: Could your persistent cough be walking pneumonia?

Very Well Health: Symptoms of GERD and Persistent Cough

It’s flu season: Know how long you’re contagious for and how to stay safe It’s flu season: Know how long you’re contagious for and how to stay safe