Medical questions & health advice by board certified doctors
"Is there a safe way to stop a coughing fit?"
I quit smoking, but my cough is getting worse and worse, sometimes have a fit right in a public place. What should I do?
First of all, congratulation on quitting smoking! This is one of the most important steps you can take to improve your overall lung and heart health for years to come. Depending on your age and how long you smoked for, the constant coughing could be a sign of a lung condition, such as chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. This and other lung conditions are common in middle aged and older current and former smokers. You would want to get this checked out by your primary care doctor who can help figure out whether you might need additional testing. Also when you go to see your primary care doctor, they will also be able to assess for additional causes of severe coughing, which could include lung infections, as well as problems related to allergies, asthma, or sinus congestion. Acid reflux can also cause frequent coughing, although unlikely to cause the fits in public you have been experiencing. After the examination, your doctor may want additional tests, such as an x-ray of your lungs or some blood work and then, based on all of these results, will be able to make a diagnosis and decide whether there is a medication that you need to take.
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