Chronic Cough

Cough for a minute or two, and you may think something has "gone down the wrong pipe." Cough for a day or two, and you may think you've picked up a cold or the flu. After a week, bronchitis or allergies may come to mind. But after three or four weeks, your mind starts to race, and the worry begins to mount.  If the cough has lasted more than eight weeks, it is then classified as chronic cough

Chronic coughing is common.  It is so frequent that it rates as one of the most common reasons for seeing a doctor. Although both patients and doctors rightly focus their attention on finding the cough's cause, the cough itself is responsible for significant problems. In addition to worry about the diagnosis, patients experience frustration and anxiety, especially if diagnosis and treatment stretches out over weeks, which is often the case. Coughing interrupts sleep, producing fatigue and impairing concentration and work performance. In this age of scary new viruses, social interactions are likely to suffer. And coughing can also have important physical consequences, ranging from urinary incontinence to fainting and broken ribs. Between medical tests, lost productivity at work, remedies that don't help, and treatments that do, coughing is also expensive.

What causes chronic coughing?

Dozens of conditions can cause a recurrent, lingering cough, but the lion's share are caused by seven causes: postnasal drip (upper airway cough syndrome), allergies, asthma, gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), chronic sinusitis, chronic bronchitis, and treatment with ACE inhibitors (used for high blood pressure). 

The Center for Allergy & Immunology can provide a comprehensive diagnostic evaluation of people with chronic cough.

We have developed a full diagnostic and treatment plan for people with chronic cough, which may include allergy skin testing, spirometry, chest X-ray, rhinolaryngoscopy, sinus CT scan, blood work, and other approaches.

We treat chronic cough aggressively.  Since the cough is often multifactorial, multiple treatments are often tried at once to gain control of the cough, with the goal to decrease medication use over time once the symptoms have abated.