Throat & Cough
The throat is a very sensitive place. It has an important job of keeping irritating particles out of the lungs and detecting when there is a problem with the airway. Cough is one of the body’s defense mechanisms for eliminating foreign material or clearing the lungs of debris.
The larynx or voice box is the “gateway” to the airway and helps in detection and protection. When the airway becomes irritated and the larynx becomes sensitive, cough can become a problem that is not helpful but instead harmful to the patient. Prolonged cough for greater than a week can be painful, can cause damage to the vocal cords, and can be a nuisance to family, friends, and coworkers.
Cough can come from a variety of problems and a thorough evaluation is necessary to determine causes and best treatment. Allergies, sinus infections, asthma, viral and bacterial infections, reflux, tumors, and throat inflammation can all cause cough. Nerve sensitivity from infection can linger and can cause cough long after an infection is gone. Fume exposure can cause airway irritability. Chronic lung disease can cause unrelenting cough that has a very different treatment. The ear, nose, and throat doctor is an important visit to evaluate the upper airway for infection, inflammation, or growths that can cause cough or throat pain.