Chronic cough

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Chronic cough is defined as lasting eight weeks or longer in adults, four weeks in children.

While it can sometimes be difficult to pinpoint the problem that's triggering a chronic cough, the most common causes are tobacco use, postnasal drip, asthma and acid reflux — the backflow of stomach acid that can irritate your throat. Chronic cough typically disappears once the underlying problem is treated.

A chronic cough can occur with other signs and symptoms, which may include:

  • A runny or stuffy nose
  • A feeling of liquid running down the back of your throat
  • Frequent throat clearing and sore throat
  • Hoarseness
  • Wheezing and shortness of breath
  • Heartburn or a sour taste in your mouth
  • In rare cases, coughing up blood

You may wish to call your doctor under the following circumstances:

  • If a chronic cough lasts more than three weeks.
  • Any concern you may have about the cause of the cough.
  • Coughing up blood.
  • Severe pain or fainting caused by coughing bouts.
  • Trouble sleeping at night because of coughing.
  • Any worrying symptom such as breathlessness or chest pain.
Relevant Occupations
Respiratory and Sleep Medicine Specialist
Infectious Disease Specialist
Related Interventions