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Ask the Doc: ‘Why can’t I shake my cough?’

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Can't shift your cough?
Can't shift your cough?

Dr Laura Ryan answers your health questions.

Q. I’ve had a persistent cough for more than three weeks, but I know it isn’t Covid-19. I don’t want to bother my GP with this, what should I do?

A. If you’re aged 40-plus and have a persistent new or different cough for three weeks or more, contact your GP now. Similarly, if you’re aged 40-plus and have recently tested negative for Covid-19 yet your symptoms – including a cough – are persisting for more than three weeks, you should contact your GP.

While it’s probably nothing to worry about, a quicker diagnosis can mean less worry. A cough can be caused by lots of different things, such as a recent viral illness, medications, acid reflux and rarely cancer. If cancer is suspected and confirmed, more treatment options are available if it’s found early. Cancer treatment has been a priority throughout the pandemic and will continue to be so moving forward.

If in doubt, contact your GP for advice. Visit www.getcheckedearly.org

Q. What causes swollen glands?

A. Swollen glands are usually caused by a relatively minor infection.

These include a cold, tonsillitis, glandular fever, a throat infection, an ear infection, a dental abscess, and cellulitis.

The glands will often become tender or painful. You may also have other symptoms, such as a sore throat, cough, or fever. These usually clear up on their own, and the swollen glands will soon go down. You will normally just need to drink plenty of fluids, rest and relieve the symptoms at home using over-the-counter medicines such as paracetamol or ibuprofen.

If you have a new continuous cough, fever or change in smell and/or taste, arrange to have a test for coronavirus. Please also seek medical attention if your symptoms aren’t improving after a few days, or your glands don’t improve after three weeks.

Related news: Ask the Doc: ‘Why is my mouth so dry?’

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