What is a loud cough?

A sonorous cough is a condition that causes a crackling, rattling, or wheezing sound in the chest or throat accompanied by a chronic cough. Bothersome noises are usually caused by mucus buildup in the chest or sinus drainage into the throat. There are several illnesses that can cause cough symptoms, including the flu, the common cold, pneumonia, and bronchitis. Other less common causes including viruses such as whooping cough, also called whooping cough.

In many cases, a loud cough is not a cause for concern. The common cold often causes congestion in the throat or chest, which can lead to wheezing or crackling in the chest. Influenza is another common cause of whooping cough symptoms. It is not life-threatening for most patients, although some members of the population are at risk of serious complications. The elderly, pregnant women, children under the age of two, and those with compromised immune systems are the most vulnerable. Very rarely, complications can arise in vulnerable people.

Occasionally, a loud cough can indicate a serious health condition. Pneumonia, an infection of the lungs, is a condition that often occurs as a result of a less threatening illness that does not heal, such as the flu. Large amounts of mucus can form and block the airways. Breathing becomes difficult and medical intervention is usually needed.

There are "wet" and "dry" forms of cough. A "wet" cough is often accompanied by mucus, which rises up the throat and into the mouth during periods of coughing. The "dry" cough does not produce mucus, but the noises are still present inside the chest. This may require medication to loosen the mucus so it can be effectively expelled.

Treatment for a noisy cough will depend on the underlying cause. Viruses can only be destroyed by the body's immune system, but medications can be helpful in relieving symptoms. Bacterial infections can often be treated with antibiotics. Breathing can be helped in severe cases using oxygen or ventilators.

Noisy cough should always be checked by a doctor, especially when it occurs in the elderly or very young children. The flu, whooping cough, and pneumonia are life-threatening for babies, and immediate medical attention is needed to prevent complications. Parents or family members should take their loved one to the doctor if the cough lasts more than a week without signs of improvement, the person seems to have trouble breathing, or stops eating.

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