If an adult does not cough, this is most often caused by improper treatment of an existing disease.

The most common causes are self-medication or lack of treatment for colds. Therapy of patients with diseases accompanied by coughing attacks is often carried out at home, only in severe cases, it is carried out in a hospital.

Usually the cause of a protracted cough is untreated respiratory disease

Why does a cough in an adult go on for a long time?

In addition to diseases of the respiratory tract, a protracted cough can appear with pathologies of other organs and systems. Common causes of its development are presented in the table.

Table. Diseases that may be accompanied by prolonged cough

Respiratory tract pathologiesDiseases of other organs and systems
Viral infectionsGastroesophageal Reflux Disease
Inflammatory diseases of the respiratory systemGastritis with high acidity
Bronchial asthmaHeart failure
Respiratory tract neoplasmsEndocrine diseases
TuberculosisCervical osteochondrosis

Otorhinolaryngological pathologies can also cause the development of a cough, which does not go away for a long time, its appearance is usually due to runoff of mucous secretions along the back wall of the pharynx.

If a person smokes, he may develop bronchitis of the smoker, coughing seizures in which are observed for a long time, almost constantly. In turn, this can lead to the development of lung cancer, emphysema, which are also characterized by this symptom.

The cause may be adverse environmental factors, hypothermia, inhalation of too dry and / or dusty air, the use of certain drugs. Coughing attacks develop when foreign bodies and substances get into the respiratory tract, in the presence of allergies.

Prolonged cough and concomitant symptoms in various diseases

The cough may be dry and wet, depending on the presence of sputum in the airways. A wet cough is characteristic of diseases of the lower respiratory tract. Lack of sputum is often observed in the initial stages of acute respiratory viral infections, inflammatory diseases of the respiratory system. With bronchitis, sputum begins to separate after a few days from the onset of the disease.


With pharyngitis, pain, a feeling of dryness and sore throat are observed, pain sensations intensify when swallowing. There is a slight increase in body temperature, discharge from the nasal cavity, headache. Perhaps the further spread of the infectious process involving the respiratory tract (trachea, bronchi).


With laryngitis, the patient has a prolonged barking cough. Also, patients may experience dryness and / or sore throat, voice disturbance, difficulty breathing, pain when swallowing, cyanosis of the skin.


When tracheitis in a patient, in addition to coughing, which is usually aggravated at night and in the morning, there may be an increase in body temperature, sore throat and / or behind the sternum.


With bronchitis, an intense chest cough occurs (in the chronic form of the disease, this symptom can be observed for several months), pain behind the sternum, difficulty in breathing can also be noted.


With pneumonia, both sparse sputum and a large amount of mucus, in which pus impurities can be detected, can be separated. Also, patients have an increase in body temperature, hard breathing, wheezing, chest pain.

With an atypical form of the disease, sputum may not separate, in patients observed:

  • headache;
  • sore throat;
  • muscle pain;
  • weakness and fatigue.

Bronchial asthma

With bronchial asthma, the patient often has coughing attacks, which can turn into asthma attacks. After an attack, the patient often separates vitreous sputum. Attacks are provoked by contact with an allergen, physical activity.

Tuberculosis and cancer of the respiratory tract

The patient is worried about a prolonged painful cough, blood is found in the sputum. Unmotivated weight loss, constant fatigue, and rapid fatigue are noted.

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Whooping cough

Painful coughing attacks are observed with whooping cough. Most often, this disease develops in childhood, but in some cases occurs in adults. If there is a sick child in the home, the risk of infection in adults in contact with him is approximately 30%.

Coughing attacks with whooping cough can be accompanied by rhinitis, cyanosis of the skin, and vomiting. After the disappearance of other clinical signs of the disease, a cough in a person can occur for several more weeks.

Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD)

In chronic obstructive pulmonary disease in patients observed:

  • prolonged wet cough;
  • cyanosis of the skin;
  • dyspnea;
  • airway obstruction;
  • wheezing
  • the participation of additional muscles in the breathing process, etc.

Gastroesophageal reflux disease and gastritis with high acidity

In these conditions, the cough reflex is caused by throwing the gastric contents into the esophagus and getting into the respiratory tract. Also, patients have bloating, vomiting, diarrhea or constipation, halitosis, sour belching.

Cervical osteochondrosis

Unpleasant sensations in the throat and a prolonged shallow cough may occur if the patient has overstrain of the cervical muscles or cervical osteochondrosis. Symptoms worsen in the morning or evening.

Congestive Heart Failure

The cough is worse in the horizontal position of the body, often at night.

Also, the patient noted:

  • dyspnea;
  • dry mucous membranes of the respiratory tract;
  • dizziness;
  • acrocyanosis;
  • chest pain;
  • swelling of the cervical veins.

Taking blood pressure regulating drugs

While taking antihypertensive drugs, some patients develop dry coughing, which accompanies the entire time of use of the drug.

Thyroid disease

Pain in the throat without signs of inflammation of the mucous membranes is observed with disorders of the thyroid gland. A prolonged dry cough is caused by the pressure of an enlarged thyroid gland on the trachea, larynx. It is accompanied by dry skin, chills, increased irritability.

What to do if a cough in an adult does not go away for a long time

What drugs need to be treated for a cough that does not go away for a long time depends on the cause of its appearance, associated symptoms, contraindications and other parameters, and therefore is determined by the doctor.

For respiratory diseases, the following are prescribed:

  • antitussive drugs (used in the absence of accumulations of sputum in the respiratory tract);
  • mucolytic, expectorant drugs (contribute to thinning and elimination of mucus);
  • bronchodilators (stop bronchospasm);
  • antihistamines (used for allergic reactions).

In the presence of infection, anti-infective drugs (antibiotics, antiviral, antifungal agents) can be prescribed.

Inhalation is one of the most effective methods of treating respiratory diseases.

Inhalations that can be carried out with the help of an inhaler, a nebulizer in a medical facility or at home effectively help. To carry out steam inhalation at home, you can simply breathe steam over the solution container.

Physiotherapeutic techniques, warming compresses, mustard plasters, breathing exercises, and drainage massage can speed up the healing process.

When a foreign body enters the respiratory tract, as a rule, resort to bronchoscopy. Surgical treatment can be indicated for gastroesophageal reflux disease, cancer, some pathologies of ENT organs.

Any treatment methods can be used only after consulting with your doctor and conducting an examination.

To speed up recovery, you must follow the general rules:

  • give up bad habits, especially smoking;
  • spend more time outdoors;
  • eat properly;
  • strengthen the drinking regime (preferably warm drink: tea with lemon, milk, fruit drinks, fruit drinks, water);
  • carry out regular cleaning, ventilate living quarters, control air humidity.

Treatment with folk remedies

In some cases, you can supplement the main therapy with folk remedies (a doctor’s consultation is required):

  1. Milk . You can take milk with honey (1 teaspoon of honey in 1 glass of milk), with soda (1 pinch of soda in a glass) or cocoa butter (0.5 teaspoon in 1 glass). These milk-based products are recommended to be drunk before bedtime.
  2. A mixture of black radish juice and honey . Squeeze the juice of black radish and mix with honey in a ratio of 1: 1. Adults should take 1 tablespoon, and children 1 teaspoon of the drug 3-4 times a day.
  3. Ginger with green tea in milk . Grated ginger root (3-4 cm long) and 2 tablespoons of green tea pour 1.5 l of milk, bring to a boil, remove from heat and insist for about 25 minutes. The product must be drunk several times a day in a warm form.
  4. Fat + honey + butter + cocoa. 200 g of melted pork fat and honey, 100 g of butter, 2 tablespoons of cocoa powder are mixed. The tool is taken 3-4 times a day, melting 1 teaspoon of the mixture in 1 cup of warm milk.