ASTHMA AND ALLERGY CENTER OF WHATCOM COUNTY | A MEDICAL SPECIALTY CLINIC SERVING BELLINGHAM AND WHATCOM COUNTY

Cough

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Cough is one of the most common reasons why patients visit their medical provider. Most causes for cough are upper respiratory infections that last for one to two weeks and are a minor to moderate nuisance. They are not usually associated with shortness of breath, chest tightness or wheezing unless one has a predisposition for asthma.

A persistent cough that recurs once or several times a year is often asthma, which may not be associated with the other  symptoms such as wheezing, chest tightness or shortness of breath. One type of asthma is cough variant asthma, or asthmatic bronchitis. Often, routine asthma therapy will prevent a cough from lasting beyond the usual five to seven days.

Sometimes cough will persist for weeks to months. In such situations, if there is no history of smoking, and if an evaluation and chest x-ray are done and found to be normal, the most common reasons for cough include one or a combination of asthma, post nasal drainage and gastro-esophageal reflux. Sometimes, gastro-esophageal reflux is not  associated with heartburn and thus the only sign of this may be cough. If a cough does not respond as expected to therapy, it should be evaluated further to make sure nothing serious is causing the cough that was not detected by chest x-ray or other tests.

For more information on chronic cough in children and adults see Chronic Cough