In terms of physical functions, coughing is one of the most basic. From newborns to aging adults, everyone coughs. However, coughing can also be problematic, as it could be an indication of a severe problem. It's important that everyone be able to tell some of the signs that often mean you're dealing with more than a simple cough.


Occasional coughs don't raise much of a red flag. A cough that seems to never go away is an issue. When people deal with issues like allergies, sinus congestion, and colds, their cough will typically quickly subdue, along with the rest of their symptoms. However, for people with conditions like bronchiolitis, asthma, and pneumonia, their coughing spells can last for weeks. Whenever a person has a cough that won't go away, it's time to see a medical provider for an exam.

Accompanying Pain

Keep an eye out for coughing that comes along with discomfort, and not just pain that comes from the physical fatigue of coughing often and aggressively. Someone with a serious issue might experience pain that radiates through their chest whenever they cough. Coughing that comes with pain could point to some dangerous activity within the lunges. To stay safe, however, anytime you experience any pain in your chest, you should seek medical treatment, even if you're not too concerned about it. 

Rattling Sensation

Listen to your airways whenever you cough. While the sound of mucus in your throat might not be too big of an issue, a deep rattling sound that comes from within your chest is. The rattling you hear could be an indication of inflammation within your bronchial tubes, known as bronchitis, or a lung infection, such as pneumonia. Both of these conditions can affect your breathing and put your overall health at risk. More importantly, they both require further testing to determine their aggressiveness. 

Breathing Difficulties

If your coughing spells are so intense that you have a hard time breathing, it's essential to seek treatment right away. Intense coughing spells could indicate a significant buildup of mucus within your upper airway, which can make breathing laborious and put you at risk. This type of cough often requires that a chest X-ray be performed, and in some instances, that breathing treatments be administered to ensure proper breathing. 

If you have concerns about dangerous coughing, a pulmonologist can help. Seek treatment as soon as possible to ensure you get to the source of the issue. Reach out to a specialist like Edward S Pineles M.D for more information.