There are a lot of coughs and colds going around at the moment. When you have a cough that is very bad, you may be wondering if something is wrong. We all know what a cold feels like but if you suspect your cough is more severe than a symptom of a cold, you may need to act fast. Here are a list of serious lung complaints and how you can spot them: Asthma – The cough associated with asthma usually is not accompanied by any other symptoms of a cold. You are unlikely to have a raised temperature or nasal congestion for example. Instead, the cough sounds chesty and wheezy. It is often caused by a trigger like exercise, pets, plants or pollution. Asthma needs medical treatment in the form of an inhaler. A doctor can listen to your lung sounds to make a diagnosis. Legionnaires – In the first couple of days, this dangerous infection can feel much like a bad bout of flu. A very high temperature of 104 degrees is accompanied by headache and chills. Your whole body may ache. However, after a couple of days, the cough will bring up nasty mucus and even blood. Vomiting or diarrhea may begin too. Legionnaires is a bacterial infection. It can be treated with a course of antibiotics. You can find out more about the disease from a specialist like Johnny Denenea. It comes from inhaling the bacteria from infected water in places like showers or public pools. Image source Flickr Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease – COPDs make it difficult to exhale properly. If you can’t breathe out fully, it makes it very difficult to breathe at all. Emphysema causes the air to be trapped in the lungs although this usually occurs from lung damage. As with any difficulty in breathing, you must contact your doctor urgently. Cystic Fibrosis – This is a genetic condition. It is likely someone in your family has already been diagnosed with this debilitating disease if you have it. Sufferers find it very difficult to clear the mucus from the chest. This causes infections that can also be difficult to clear. Those with this condition are sometimes encouraged to cough routinely to help shift the mucus in the lungs. Bronchitis – This is an inflammation of the airways. It is usually caused by a viral infection, and will come on very suddenly. For those who have never experienced a bronchial inflammation, it can be very frightening. It’s important not to panic as you may find it difficult to catch your breath. Instead, drink plenty of water, and ask your doctor for advice. The lungs are essential to our overall health as they allow oxygen to pass into our blood system. Any obstruction to this process can leave us breathless and dangerously ill. It’s important to contact a doctor if breathlessness is persistent. While some chesty coughs can make us feel quite unwell, they usually clear up on their own after a few days. Serious lung complaints are unlikely to disappear. Instead, medication may be required. Consult your doctor if your breathing is difficult.