Most Pennsylvania residents have sought medical care at some point in life. If you're a parent of several children, you might feel as though, some years, you spend more time in a doctor's office than you do at home. Some people enjoy overall good health and only suffer the occasional virus or minor injury. Others suffer from chronic or terminal illness that necessitate specialized care on a daily basis.
Many illnesses include a nagging cough as a main symptom. You might get a cough if you catch a cold or the flu. If you can't seem shake a cough and it lingers for weeks or months, you can request a medical examination to determine the underlying source. Depending on the diagnosis, you might simply need to take a certain medication to help restore your good health, or you might learn that you are suffering from something more serious and need extra support.
Coughs have a purpose
You can likely force yourself to cough if you want to, or you might find yourself hacking suddenly, if you choke on a piece of food or try to breathe in a smoke-filled environment. Coughing is an integral component of your body's defense system. The following list explains how coughs work:
- When you cough, your diaphragm contracts and lungs compress. Air then travels from your lungs through your trachea, esophagus and epiglottis, and you then expel it through your mouth.
- You might cough to dislodge and expel a piece of food or other item that is stuck in your throat.
- Through coughing, you can get rid of mucus, microbes and other foreign matter than may be stuck in your respiratory tract.
- Infections, cold air, allergies, chemicals or tumors may cause irritation that prompts you to cough.
If you have a cough for a few days and, perhaps, other symptoms of minor illness, it is not typically something you should worry about. However, if you have a recurring cough or one that never goes away, you may be suffering from an underlying, adverse health condition.
Sadly, for many people in Pittsburgh, such as those who have worked in steel mills, shipyards, on the railroad or in a coal mine, asbestos exposure has caused them to ingest or inhale microscopic fibers into their lungs, which in turn has developed into terminal illness, often including the primary symptom of a nagging cough.
Many asbestos injury victims later learn their illnesses were preventable, had their employers not been negligent. If you or your loved one have experienced this, you may want to learn more about asbestos litigation and where to seek legal support in your area.