Medical questions & health advice by board certified doctors
"Do I have a respiratory disease?"
I have a cough that I just can?t seem to shake. No other symptoms, just congestion in my chest and a cough. Do I have some kind of a respiratory disease? Could it have something to do with the air where I live?
The answer to your question depends on a lot of factors. For example, if you have had your cough for one month or less, then the most likely culprit is a viral bronchitis. This is an infection in the lower airways of your lungs. It causes a cold-like syndrome for a few days to a week followed by up to 3 weeks of cough. This can be quite annoying, but does go away eventually. Your report of feeling congested in your chest is very consistent with a viral bronchitis. If your cough has been going on for more than a month, then it is probably caused by something else. An infection with the bacterial bordetella pertussis causes the illness whooping cough. This cough can last up to 6 months. Smoking, or exposure to other environmental toxins can also cause a more long lasting cough. If you are a smoker, your first step towards getting rid of this cough is to quit smoking. I suggest that you schedule an appointment with your primary care physician. He or she can take a more detailed history of your symptoms and perform a thorough physical exam. More than likely, your doctor will be able to make a diagnoses right there and start you on treatment.
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