Why Does My Head Hurt When I Cough

Coughing Flu Symptoms:

Headaches are one of the most common symptoms of coughing flu. They occur due to inflammation in your brain or spinal cord caused by infection with viruses such as influenza A virus (H1N1) and influenza B virus (H3N2).

These viruses cause fever, chills, headache, muscle aches and sore throat. Your body’s immune system attacks these viral infections causing severe pain and weakness. You may feel like you have been hit by a truck, but it doesn’t mean that you will die from the damage. However, if you don’t get treatment within 24 hours of the onset of symptoms then they could become life threatening.

What Causes Headache During Coughing Flu?

The main reason why coughing flu causes headache is because it affects your central nervous system which controls all bodily functions including breathing. All of your muscles contract and relax depending on what part of your body is being affected. If you are coughing up blood, then your chest expands while contracting your diaphragm and abdominal wall. This causes the air to move through the lungs faster and makes it harder for them to clear out the toxins in your respiratory tract.

How Long Do Headaches Last After Coughing Flu?

After coughing up blood, you will most likely experience headaches for the next 1 to 3 days while your body tries to recover from the infection. Your cough should gradually subside within 1 to 2 weeks of the initial infection depending on how quickly your body fights off the viruses. During this time it will be difficult to eat or drink anything without experiencing a cough reflex. You may also cough up large amounts of mucus and phlegm which can result in dehydration.

How Long Does A Cough Headache Last?

A cough headache is a secondary effect of coughing. If you suffer from post-nasal drip it can cause constant headaches and nosebleeds. This is due to the fact that during a cough, the pressure in your chest can force the mucous and phlegm into your throat or even tear blood vessels in the back of your throat. This causes irritation, pain and bleeding which can trigger a headache.

How To Prevent A Cough Headache?

To prevent a headache, you should try to avoid coughing on your throat or put pressure on it. Some people find that Bayer Advanced Aspirin can help reduce the pain and swelling of a headache caused by coughing. You can also use over-the-counter painkillers to manage the pain if it gets too bad. Make sure you consume plenty of fluids and rest while you are sick. Avoid strenuous activity until you have recovered.

How To Stop A Cough Headache?

Coughing can last from a couple of days to a few weeks. If you are suffering from post-nasal drip and cough headaches, it may take some time before your body recovers from the infection. In the meantime, you can use over-the-counter painkillers to help manage the pain, but don’t use them for more than 3 days. Make sure you drink plenty of fluids and get enough rest.

What Are The Symptoms Of A Cough Headache?

Some of the main symptoms of a cough headache are listed below. However, there are many different symptoms that may also be caused by this problem.

Pain or tenderness in your temples


Stuffed up nose

Sore throat

Swelling inside your mouth

Blood shot eyes

Difficulty swallowing or breathing

Pain in your ears or dizziness

How To Get Relief From A Cough Headache?

Here are some suggestions that may help you to get relief from a cough headache:

Use an over-the-counter painkiller such as aspirin or ibuprofen. You can also use acetaminophen (Tylenol).

Be careful not to use it for more than 3 days as this can damage your liver.

Apply a warm washcloth to your face or the back of your neck.

Drink fluids to prevent dehydration and dry coughs.

Suck on hard candy or chew gum.

Breathe in steam to thin out your mucus and relieve pressure in your sinuses and chest. You can do this by taking a hot shower or sitting with your head over a pot of boiling water.

Can A Cough Headache Lead To A Heart Attack?

A cough headache can lead to a heart attack if you suffer from coronary heart disease. It can also trigger a heart attack in people who don’t have any underlying heart conditions. A cough headache puts a great deal of stress on your body and this can have a serious affect on people with heart problems. The constant coughing puts a strain on your heart and the stress of coughing can result in blood clots, increased blood pressure and other serious complications. Always consult your doctor if you have a heart condition and suffer from post-nasal drip and cough headaches.

How Are Cough Headaches Treated?

Your treatment plan will vary depending on what is causing the cough headache in the first place. For example, if you have an upper respiratory infection, you can take over-the-counter painkillers to relieve the pain. If you have a sinus infection, you can use pain relievers or decongestants to help with the symptoms. You can also take over-the-counter meds to treat the infection.

If you suffer from allergies, you will need to determine what you are allergic to and eliminate it from your environment. This may involve getting rid of your pet or moving to a new house that doesn’t have mold or other allergens present in the air.

For those who are allergic to pollen, taking antihistamines and cleaning your air filters can help. You should also wear a medical alert bracelet or necklace that states that you are allergic to certain substances.

If you have post-nasal drip, using saline nasal spray and rinsing can help keep the levels of mucus in your nose balanced. If you are taking any medications, they also may need to be adjusted by your doctor.

Cough headache can also be a symptom of a more serious problem, such as heart disease. If you have coronary heart disease and suffer from a cough headache, it is very important to see your doctor immediately.

A cough headache can trigger a heart attack in someone who has this condition.

Those who experience cough headaches on a regular basis should see their doctor to determine the cause. The headaches may be a sign of another serious medical condition.

A cough headache is a common condition that affects many people. If you suffer from them on a regular basis, there are steps you can take to relieve your symptoms and reduce the occurrence of future headaches.

Always speak to your doctor if you have any unusual or severe headaches. They could be a symptom of something more serious.

Sources & references used in this article:

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Chronic refractory cough as a sensory neuropathy: evidence from a reinterpretation of cough triggers by AE Vertigan, PG Gibson – Journal of Voice, 2011 – Elsevier

Cough, exertional, and sexual headaches: an analysis of 72 benign and symptomatic cases by J Pascual, F Iglesias, A Oterino, A Vazquez-Barquero… – Neurology, 1996 – AAN Enterprises

Measuring cough severity: perspectives from the literature and from patients with chronic cough by M Vernon, NK Leidy, A Nacson, L Nelsen – Cough, 2009 – Springer

Cough headache by C Symonds – Brain, 1956 – academic.oup.com

Cases of Hooping-Cough by J Webster – The London medical and physical journal, 1823 – ncbi.nlm.nih.gov

Pure Terebene in the Treatment of Winter-Cough by CW Suckling – British medical journal, 1886 – ncbi.nlm.nih.gov

A case of violent and obstinate Cough, cured by a preparation of Iron by C Stanger – Medico-chirurgical transactions, 1809 – ncbi.nlm.nih.gov