Daily Bulletin


The Conversation

  • Written by Maja Husaric, Lecturer, Victoria University

For centuries, doctors and care givers have listened to the different types of cough in search of clues to help diagnose underlying disease.

Coughs are a valuable diagnostic tool, but how do you know if you’ve got a relatively harmless cough, a coronavirus cough – or something else altogether?

An occasional cough is healthy, but one that persists for weeks, produces bloody mucus, causes changes in phlegm colour or comes with fever, dizziness or fatigue may be a sign you need to see a doctor.

Read more: Coronavirus: how long does it take to get sick? How infectious is it? Will you always have a fever? COVID-19 basics explained

Cough questions

If you’ve gone to see a doctor about a cough, he or she will want to know:

  • how long has the cough lasted? Days, weeks, months?
  • when is the cough most intense? Night, morning, intermittently throughout the day?
  • how does the cough sound? Dry, wet, barking, hacking, loud, soft?
  • does the cough produce symptoms such as vomiting, dizziness, sleeplessness or something else?
  • how bad is your cough? Does it interfere with daily activities, is it debilitating, annoying, persistent, intermittent?

COVID-19 cough: dry, persistent and leaves you short of breath

The most prominent symptoms of COVID-19 are fever and fatigue, and you may feel like you have a cold or flu. Cough is present in about half of infected patients.

Considering that COVID-19 irritates lung tissue, the cough is dry and persistent. It is accompanied with shortness of breath and muscle pain.

As disease progresses, the lung tissue is filled with fluid and you may feel even more short of breath as your body struggles to get enough oxygen.

Wet and phlegmy or dry and hacking?

A wet cough brings up phlegm from the lower respiratory tract (the lungs and lower airways, as opposed to your nose and throat) into the mouth.

The “wet” sound is caused by the fluid in the airways and can be accompanied by a wheezing sound when breathing in. The lower airways have more secretory glands than your throat, which is why lower respiratory tract infections cause a wet cough.

A dry cough doesn’t produce phlegm. It usually starts at the back of the throat and produces a barking or coarse sound. A dry cough does not clear your airways so sufferers often describe it as an unsatisfactory cough.

a guide to coughs in the time of coronavirus Shutterstock Nose and throat infections cause irritation to those areas and produce a hacking dry cough with sore throat. These types of cough are often seen in flu or cold. Sometimes a cough can start off dry but eventually turn wet. For example, the lung infection pneumonia often begins with a dry cough that’s sometimes painful and can cause progressive shortness of breath. As infection progresses, the lung air sacs (alveoli) can fill up with inflammatory secretions such as lung tissue fluid and blood, and then the cough will become wet. At this stage, sputum becomes frothy and blood-tinged. What about whooping cough? Whooping cough is caused by bacterial infection that affects cells in the airways and causes irritation and secretion. Symptoms include coughing fits that end in a loud, “breathing in” noise that often sounds like a long “whoop” and leaves you gasping for air. Mucus is often expelled. Read more: Does JK Rowling's breathing technique cure the coronavirus? No, it could help spread it Prolonged, forceful coughing can damage your airways, or cause rib fractures or muscle tears – so it’s important to know when medical help is required. So whatever your cough sounds like, keep an eye on it and see a doctor (either in person or via a telehealth appointment) if it doesn’t go away or gets worse.

Authors: Maja Husaric, Lecturer, Victoria University

Read more https://theconversation.com/dry-wet-barking-hacking-a-guide-to-coughs-in-the-time-of-coronavirus-136048

Writers Wanted

The big barriers to global vaccination: patent rights, national self-interest and the wealth gap

arrow_forward

After riots, Donald Trump leaves office with under 40% approval

arrow_forward

Five ways Australians can save the planet without lifting a finger (well, almost!)

arrow_forward

The Conversation
INTERWEBS DIGITAL AGENCY

Politics

Ray Hadley's interview with Scott Morrison

RAY HADLEY: Prime Minister, good morning.    PRIME MINISTER: G’day Ray.   HADLEY: I was just referring to this story from the Courier Mail, which you’ve probably caught up with today about t...

Ray Hadley & Scott Morrison - avatar Ray Hadley & Scott Morrison

Prime Minister's Remarks to Joint Party Room

PRIME MINISTER: Well, it is great to be back in the party room, the joint party room. It’s great to have everybody back here. It’s great to officially welcome Garth who joins us. Welcome, Garth...

Scott Morrison - avatar Scott Morrison

Prime Minister Interview with Ben Fordham, 2GB

BEN FORDHAM: Scott Morrison, good morning to you.    PRIME MINISTER: Good morning, Ben. How are you?    FORDHAM: Good. How many days have you got to go?   PRIME MINISTER: I've got another we...

Scott Morrison - avatar Scott Morrison

Business News

7 foolproof tips for bidding successfully at a property auction

Auctions can be beneficial for prospective buyers, as they are transparent and fair. If you reach the limit you are willing to pay, you can simply walk away. Another benefit of an auction is tha...

Dominique Grubisa - avatar Dominique Grubisa

Getting Ready to Code? These Popular and Easy Programming Languages Can Get You Started

According to HOLP (History Encyclopedia of Programing Languages), there are more than 8,000 programming languages, some dating as far back as the 18th century. Although there might be as many pr...

News Co - avatar News Co

Avoid These Mistakes When Changing up Your Executive Career

Switching up industries is a valid move at any stage in your career, even if you’re an executive. Doing so at this stage can be a lot more intimidating, however, and it can be quite difficult know...

News Co - avatar News Co



News Co Media Group

Content & Technology Connecting Global Audiences

More Information - Less Opinion