You have been up all night tossing and turning with a terrible cough. Should you go to the doctor? Knowing when to see a doctor for a cough can be difficult. There are however some very clear signs and guidelines that indicate the need for professional intervention.
While some coughs can be completely productive and harmless. Others can be an indication of a far more serious condition. Depending on the severity of your signs or symptoms, you will either call for advice, schedule an appointment or race to the emergency room.
Call for Advice
Calling for advice may lead to an appointment. It gives your doctor the option to decide if you need to be seen and how quickly they should fit you in. If your cough is so harsh and persistent it causes you to throw up, you should call. If the mucus brought up while coughing is yellow or green, it may indicate an infection and merits a call to your physician. Your cough may be accompanied by a fever, if the fever is higher than 101, call your doctor. Lastly, you should call if the cough doesn't go away and hangs on for a few weeks or you have a breathing condition and regular treatment isn't helping.
Call Right Away
A few signs require an immediate call to a your physician. When your cough is producing a blood streaked mucus or mucus that looks brown. If you are wheezing or you have shortness of breath. Additionally, if you are having difficulty breathing or rapid breathing call right away. If you have a fever that is accompanied by chills or tremors, you should also call immediately. Chest pain that increases in severity when you take a deep breath also merits an immediate call.
It's an Emergency
Some signs and symptoms that can mean big trouble when you have a cough and should always send you to the ER or 911. If you can't catch your breath at all, your coughing up blood, feel excessively weak or faint or you have severe intense chest pain seek emergency help immediately. These can all be signs of a more life threatening illness such a Pneumonia or heart attack.
Having a cough can be completely harmless. Like other symptoms of illness a cough is the bodies way of getting better. Coughs expel germs from the body and clear the chest, airways and lungs. Although a cough can be productive and helpful, it is absolutely necessary you maintain close watch and seek help when needed.