Conditions

Here’s When To Consider Your Cough As Sign Of COVID-19

Cough is one of the most common symptoms of COVID-19. The disease also usually comes with fever and fatigue, making patients feel like they have a cold or flu.

It is important to detect the coronavirus infection early to avoid transmission and potential complications. One way is observing how you cough to see any signs of COVID-19 or if it is because of other conditions, according to Maja Husaric and Vasso Apostolopoulos, both from Victoria University.

COVID-19 cough is dry, persistent and can leave an individual short of breath. That is because the disease irritates lung tissue. 

As it progresses, the affected tissue may get filled with fluid. The patient would then experience more shortness of breath as the body struggles to get enough oxygen.

“An occasional cough is healthy, but one that persists for weeks, produces bloody mucus, causes changes in phlegm color or comes with fever, dizziness or fatigue may be a sign you need to see a doctor,” Husaric and Apostolopoulos said in an article posted on the Conversation

Wet vs Dry Cough

People may be coughing because of another condition not caused by the novel coronavirus. A wet cough involves phlegm moving from the lungs and lower airways into the mouth.

The presence of fluid in the airways causes the "wet" sound when coughing. In some cases, people also make a wheezing sound when breathing in. 

A dry cough, like that caused by COVID-19, doesn't produce phlegm. It usually starts at the back of the throat and causes a barking sound. 

“A dry cough does not clear your airways so sufferers often describe it as an unsatisfactory cough,” Husaric and Apostolopoulos said.

However, a cough can start off dry but eventually turn wet in some conditions. For example, people with pneumonia often exhibit a dry cough but as the infection progresses the lung air sacs can fill up with inflammatory secretions, causing a wet cough. 

If you want to see a doctor to check your condition, below are the questions people commonly get about coughing: 

  • How long has the cough lasted?
  • When is the cough most intense? Night, morning, throughout the day?
  • How does the cough sound? 
  • Does the cough produce symptoms, like vomiting, dizziness or sleeplessness?
  • How bad is your cough? Does it interfere with daily activities?

COVID-19 and senior citizens This is a representational image of a woman wearing a mask amid the ongoing coronavirus outbreak. Pixabay

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