Why Do I Keep Coughing and Sneezing?

Coughing and sneezing are general symptoms of common cold which usually surface about 3 days after a person gets exposed to the common cold virus.
The ongoing coronavirus outbreak has led to global distress because thousands of mortalities have been recorded since the outbreak of the disease which started from a seafood and meat market in Wuhan, China, in December. Coughing and sneezing are part of the symptoms of coronavirus disease (COVID-19).
Apart from the COVID-19 symptoms, coughing and sneezing are majorly symptoms of common cold. In this article, we examined some reasons why you keep coughing and sneezing and when it is best to see a doctor.

Why Do I Keep Coughing and Sneezing

One of the reasons why you may keep coughing and sneezing is common cold. For common cold, coughing and sneezing may vanish after about 10 days, but in other cases, they can last from 2 to 14 days. Some symptoms of common cold include:
Sneezing
A person is bound to sneeze when there’s an irritation of the mucous membranes of the nose and throat. First, the common cold-causing virus infects nasal cells. This makes the body’s immune to release its own natural inflammatory peacekeepers (histamine), which causes the blood vessels to dilate and leak. The mucus glands proceed to emit fluid which leads to irritation and sneezing.
READ ALSO: Sneezing During Pregnancy: Can it Affect the Baby?
Coughing
Cold symptoms often accompany a dry or productive cough. Normally, coughing appears to be the last cold symptom to disappear and it can persist from 7 – 21 days.
Don’t hesitate to consult your doctor if:
  • You cough out blood
  • Your coughing is associated with greenish or yellowish smelly mucus.
  • Your coughing is accompanied by fever
  • Your 3-month-old child with a cough
  • You start coughing abruptly and severely
  • Coughing that leads to heart condition and/or swollen legs
  • Cough that deteriorates in lying position
  • Coughing associated with noisy breathing
  • Coughing accompanied by night sweat
  • Sudden weight loss
Runny Nose or Nasal Congestion
Apart from coughing and sneezing, runny nose or nasal congestion are also other symptoms of common cold. These symptoms occur when excess fluid causes blood vessels and mucous membranes within the nose to swell up. The nasal discharge may take on a thicker greenish or yellowish coloration after a period of three days. According to CDC these types of nasal discharge are normal. Postnasal drip may be accompanied by common cold symptoms.
READ ALSO: Celebrities Who Tested Positive for Coronavirus
It is best to confer with doctor if coughing and sneezing symptoms persist after 10 days. Also see your healthcare provider as soon as you notice severe headache, sinus pain, or yellowish nasal discharge.
Sore throat
A sore throat feels dry, itchy, and scratchy, makes swallowing painful, and can even make eating solid food difficult. A sore throat can be caused by inflamed tissues brought on by a cold virus. It can also be caused by postnasal drip or even something as simple as prolonged exposure to a hot, dry environment.
READ ALSO: 10 Natural Remedies For Sore Throat
Fever
Another reason for your coughing and sneezing is fever which is also associated with common cold. Consult your doctor if you or your child aged 6 weeks or older has a fever of 100.4°F or above. Other symptoms that may occur in those with a common cold include watery eyes and mild fatigue.
Headaches and body aches
Apart from coughing and sneezing a cold virus can cause body pains or mild headaches which are all symptoms of flu.

When to Consult a Doctor

Not every symptom of common cold or coughing and sneezing points to coronavirus or some other deadly diseases. In some cases, common cold symptoms are mild and can easily be treated with fluids and rest. However, colds shouldn’t be treated with kid’s glove when it’s affecting infants, older people, and those with health complications.
For Children
If your child has any of the following symptoms below, consult a pediatrician:
  • coughing persistently
  • ear pain
  • is 6 weeks and has a fever of 100°F or higher
  • is 6 weeks or older and has a fever of 101.4°F or higher
  • has a fever that has persisted for longer than 3 days
  • unusual, continuous crying
  • has cold symptoms (of any type) that have lasted for more than 10 days
  • is vomiting or having abdominal pain
  • is having difficulty breathing or is wheezing
  • has a stiff neck or severe headache
  • is not drinking and is urinating less than usual
  • is having trouble swallowing or is drooling more than usual
  • unusually sleepy or prickly
For Adults
If you are an adult ensure you consult your doctor if you have the following flu symptoms:
  • chest pain
  • ear pain
  • cold symptoms that persists after 10 days
  • fever of 100.4°F or higher
  • a fever that accompanies sweating or chills
  • a productive cough with smelly mucus
  • severely swollen lymph nodes
  • severe sinus pain
  • trouble breathing or shortness of breath
Sources: Source 1; Source 2; Source3

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