We get it. You have a cough or know someone who’s been coughing. Normally that wouldn’t be much reason for concern, but we’re all deluged with endless news stories about coronavirus, and it’s scary. It’s important to remember that COVID-19 coronavirus is something that the majority of people who get recover from. But does a cough indicate coronavirus?
The answer is that, yes, a cough or coughing can be a symptom of coronavirus. In fact, coughing is one of the most common symptoms listed. However, it’s not just any cough. It’s a dry cough. Be aware that just because you’re coughing, though, doesn’t mean you have coronavirus. It might be the common cold. It might be the regular flu, allergies, asthma, or something else.
Health.com spoke to Subinoy Das, MD, medical director for the US Institute for Advanced Sinus Care & Research. He explained that a dry cough was “one where no mucus or phlegm is produced with the cough,” in contrast to a wet cough, which “is one filled with mucus or phlegm where someone can actually feel the mucus move in their bronchi or throat.” Harvard Medical School describes a “wet cough” or “productive cough” as a cough that “produces sputum (phlegm or mucus from the lungs or sinuses). The cough sounds soupy and may come with a wheezing or rattling sound and tightness in your chest.” In contrast, a dry cough doesn’t bring up phlegm.
There are many other things that can cause a dry cough. “If you have a chronic dry cough (a cough that has lasted for more than three weeks), it may be a symptom of allergies or asthma,” explains the American College of Allergy, Asthma, and Immunology.
Fever, shortness of breath, and a dry cough are usually listed as the most common symptoms for coronavirus, however. Andrew O’Dwyer, who is recovering from coronavirus, told BBC: “The worst bit is the uncontrollable coughing.”
It’s hard to get testing in many jurisdictions even if you’ve traveled overseas. There’s not a known cure for coronavirus anyway, so if you think you have it, consult with your primary care doctor. Again: Most people who get coronavirus will recover just fine, but some survivors have described a very vicious battle with a flu-like illness. When they say the virus is mild for most, they don’t …read more