July 1, 2016

Cough (Chronic Cough)

What are causes of chronic cough? (Continued)

  • Infections such as bronchitis or pneumonia can cause acute cough or a chronic cough. These infections can be caused by viruses, bacteria, or fungus. Viral infections do not respond to antibiotics. Cold and the flu often produce a dry cough. Viral upper respiratory infections often result in a prolonged cough even after the infection has cleared in people with asthma. Bronchitis is one of the most common causes of coughing up blood (hemoptysis).
    • A particular strain of bacterial pneumonia, called Mycoplasma, may cause a chronic cough with fatigue, weakness, shortness of breath, and sputum production. This infection is sometimes referred to as "walking pneumonia," and commonly affects young and healthy people.
    • Whooping cough (pertussis) is an acute, highly contagious respiratory infection caused by the bacterium Bordetella pertussis. It can cause violent, rapid, constant coughing and it can be fatal in young children. Whooping cough commonly affects infants and young children, but can be prevented by immunization with pertussis vaccine. In adults, whooping cough can be a cause of chronic cough.
  • Chronic cough in children is uncommon. Foreign material obstructing the airways of the lungs, asthma, and allergies need to be evaluated by a pediatrician.
  • Certain medications, notably ACE inhibitors (enalapril [Vasotec], captopril [Capoten] etc.) used in treating high blood pressure, can cause chronic cough.
  • Less common causes of chronic cough include allergies, tumors, sarcoidosis, congestive heart failure, or other lung diseases such as chronic obstructive disease (COPD) or emphysema. Lung diseases also can cause coughing up blood.

If chronic cough persists it is important to be evaluated by a doctor. The health-care professional will consider the possibility of asthma, postnasal drip, esophageal reflux, drug side effects, interstitial lung disease, lung cancer, or other unusual infections. Continue Reading

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Reviewed on 5/17/2016
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