So, that’s it, Christmas is over again for another year and what do we all get the privilege of taking away from it? (And no, we aren’t talking about presents and memories!) The dreaded lurgy! Many of us walked into the New Year with tired eyes, sniffles, sneezes and a croaky cough! And, as normal daily routine resumes, it’s the cough that we seem to ignore the most.

Are your friends or family pointing out that the cough you’ve had seems to be lingering for longer than it should? And if so, do we always know what to do about a concerning cough?

Once again, we’ve teamed up with our Paycare Partners, Medstars, to bring you a blog which explores the symptoms you can look out for if you’re worried your cough might be turning into something a little more serious.


“Everyone gets a cough now and again, especially at this time of year. And, whilst we might spend a few days desperately trying to hold it in during meetings or on our morning commute, more often than not it goes away with little hassle.

However, if you’ve had a persistent cough for three weeks or more, there’s some key symptoms to look out for which could be a sign of something a little more serious:


Blood In Your Cough

This is a big red flag.
Even if there are only a few specks of blood visible, you should contact your GP as soon as possible.
Alerting your doctor as early as possible will set you on the path to finding out exactly what’s causing this and treat it without delay.

Whilst there are other explanations, the blood production could be caused by a tumour in your lung, and this early diagnosis could save your life.

Of course, it can be extremely worrying to see blood when you cough. It is important to remain calm and act on it, as the sooner you see your doctor, the sooner you will be able to get treated.


A Long-Standing Cough That Gets Worse

With a cough that’s been hanging around for a few days, it can sometimes deteriorate and turn to chronic wheezing.

Rather than deciding to make the best of it and struggle through, as many of us are tempted to do, it is vital that you make a doctor’s appointment as soon as possible. Ignoring these symptoms could make things worse.


Persistent Breathlessness

Breathlessness can often be perceived as a general lack of fitness. In many cases, this could actually be true, but, if you experience breathlessness frequently it is absolutely vital that you do not dismiss your symptoms.

There are a number of explanations for breathlessness, so by speaking to your doctor immediately they will be able to help rule out any of the big nasties – including Lung Cancer.


Aches or Pains When Breathing ,Coughing Or Swallowing

Aches and pains like these can so often be dismissed as the consequence of a sore throat, or the weather, or a bug that’s been going around. However, if you persistently experience pain when breathing, coughing, or eating, these could all be symptoms of something a little more serious.

If, after taking basic steps to relive the pain, you find that it’s still causing disruption to your day to day routine, then it’s important to seek medical advice from a doctor to find out what’s causing it.


Ongoing Chest Infections

Often, if its particularly persistent, your cough can progress into a nasty chest infection. Whilst they’re not nice, and certainly not very comfortable to live with, a chest infection can easily be remedied by a short course of prescribed antibiotics.

However, if, after finishing your course of antibiotics, you can’t get rid of your chest infection, it’s important to seek further medical advice as ongoing chest infections can be a symptom of lung cancer.

In this case, getting a specialist opinion on your infection, even if it means visiting a private practice, could help you gain crucial time through a faster cancer diagnosis.

Whilst a lot of these symptoms can often easily be explained, and are certainly very easy to treat with the right diagnosis from a medical professional, it’s important to take notice and act on them straight away.

By being aware of the possible symptoms, and spotting them as early as possible, you can make sure that, if there is anything a little more serious going on, you can begin treatment quickly, and find yourself on the path to recovery much sooner.


What if the symptoms result in a diagnosis of Lung Cancer?

Sometimes when people think of lung cancer, images of smokers with blackened lungs immediately come to mind. These images are misconceived on two fronts.

Firstly, anyone can develop lung cancer, including those who have never actively or passively smoked a cigarette.

Secondly, if caught early, lung cancer does not have to be a death sentence. Far from it, people can be diagnosed with lung cancer, recover, and then return to enjoying the active lives they were living before being diagnosed with the disease.

A brilliant example of this recovery is found in the case of James Brokenshire, who resigned from his post as Secretary of State for Northern Ireland in January 2018, having been diagnosed with the disease. As his lung cancer was caught early, it was highly treatable and Brokenshire returned to Government as Housing, Communities and Local Government Secretary in April of this year.”


Do any of the symptoms above relate to your cough or health a whole?
If your cough resonates with any of the above and you want to speak to a doctor quickly do remember that, as a Paycare Policyholder, you can access our exclusive GP 24/7 Service (at home, or abroad) if you’re struggling to get an appointment with your own GP. Appointments can be made a time and date to suit you, and most appointments are arranged for the very same day.


To find out more, please click here.

Medstars, one of our fantastic Paycare Partners, is a curated community of trusted health professionals.

Their free online booking platform features individual practitioner profiles, displaying expertise, prices, location, availability and patient testimonials to ensure you can make an informed decision and choose the right health professional for you.

For more information, visit