How to Tell If Your Cough Requires a Visit to Urgent Care

Cough, Cold, Flu, Asthma, Urgent Care, ER

A cough is your body’s way of clearing your airways, making sure that you’re able to breathe easily. And while we’ve all suffered a cough from time to time, usually at the hands of a common cold, there are times when your cough could be telling you that there’s something larger at play.

At Monrovia Internal Medicine & Primary Care, under the expert care of Dr. Ulin Sargeant, we’re equipped to diagnose and treat most of the common medical problems that crop up — from urinary tract infections to strep throat. Through our urgent care center and our telemedicine services, we provide our patients in Duarte, California, with the health care they need, when they need it.

As part of our services, we believe that patient education is key, which is why we’ve pulled together the following information on the cough — more specifically, when it’s just a cough or when you’d do well to seek our services, urgent or otherwise.

Behind the cough

As we mentioned at the beginning, a cough is a reflexive action by your body to clear your airways, which means a cough is a good thing. And there are hundreds of reasons why you might cough, from inhaling smoke to expelling food caught in your throat.

But a persistent cough is something entirely different and can develop for many reasons, including:

As you can see by this list, there can be a lot more to a cough than you might think.

Coughing beyond a cold

The common cold is the primary cause for a persistent cough as your body gets rid of mucus that develops because of an upper respiratory infection. And while the cough may be uncomfortable, it typically resolves itself on its own if you take good care of yourself with rest and plenty of liquids.

If your cough doesn’t let up and seems to be coming from somewhere deeper, this is the first red flag that the infection may have reached your lungs and you’ve developed bronchitis, bringing your simple cold to an entirely different level. On top of bronchitis, pneumonia can also pose a threat.

We recommend that you seek out our urgent care services at this point, because untreated lung infections can become chronic and lead to serious complications.

Seasonal cough

If your cough tends to rise and fall with the seasons, namely coming on during the spring and fall months, you’re likely dealing with allergies. While not everyone develops a cough with spring fever, some do as their bodies react to the irritants in the air.

While you may have become accustomed to this cough, it can still wreak havoc on your throat, and we recommend that you come see us, though not necessarily in an urgent care capacity.

Digestive issues

Believe it or not, gastroesophageal reflux (GERD) is the second most common reason why people cough. When the acids in your stomach make their way up your esophagus, they irritate the lining, which may cause you to cough. While this may be an ongoing problem for you, GERD can lead to damage in your throat since this tube isn’t designed for exposure to stomach acids.

The best way to tackle this cough is to have us treat the underlying GERD, an area in which Dr. Sargeant has extensive expertise. While this type of cough may not require urgent care, it does require care.

Urgent care cough

Putting the causes of coughs aside for a moment, there are some rules of thumb when it comes to seeking urgent care for a cough. You should definitely come see us if:

These types of coughing are all signs of serious infections or severe reactions, so please give us a call if you’re experiencing any of the symptoms on the list. If your cough is persistent, but doesn’t meet those criteria, we still want to hear from you so we can get to the bottom of your issue. Simply call for an appointment or use the easy online booking tool.

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