HEALTH: Get that cough checked out

You may already have seen the adverts connected to this public health campaign. However, if you haven’t, please read the following information from the NHS Choices website, which has some important advice about lung disease and its associated symptoms.

If you’ve had a cough for three weeks or more, tell your doctor. It’s probably nothing serious, but you’re not wasting anyone’s time by getting it checked out. Call your GP today.

What could it be?
Everyone gets a cough now and then, but a cough that lasts for three weeks or more could be a sign of something more serious, such as COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease), which is a form of lung disease.

A persistent cough might not be anything serious, but don’t try and diagnose yourself, see your doctor to find out for sure.

Could it be cancer?
A cough that has lasted three weeks or more can also be a sign of lung cancer, which is why it’s so important to see your doctor. Early detection makes it easier to treat. Seeing your doctor could save your life.

Symptoms of lung disease, including lung cancer
A cough that has lasted three weeks or more is a key symptom of lung disease, including lung cancer, but other symptoms include:

  • a cough that has got worse or changes
  • frequent chest infections
  • coughing up blood
  • chest or shoulder pain
  • breathlessness
  • feeling more tired than usual for some time
  • losing weight for no obvious reason, or loss of appetite

If you have any of these symptoms, see your GP as soon as possible. If you know anyone who has any of these symptoms, insist they see their doctor.

What will happen at my GP appointment?
You’re not wasting anyone’s time by getting your symptoms checked out. Before you visit your GP, it may help to write down your symptoms and how you feel so you don’t forget anything on your visit.

At your appointment, your doctor may ask you some questions, such as how long you have had your symptoms and whether they have changed over time.

Your doctor may suggest some tests such as a chest x-ray, blood tests and lung function tests.

More information on the NHS Choices website