Chronic Cough

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Cough is a rapid expulsion of air from the lungs typically in order to clear the lung airways of fluids, mucus, or material. Cough is also called tussis. Cough can be categorized as acute (less than three weeks) or chronic (greater than three weeks).

Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 2/27/2012

Health concern on your mind? Visit the Symptom Checker.

REFERENCE:

Fauci, Anthony S., et al. Harrison's Principles of Internal Medicine. 17th ed. United States: McGraw-Hill Professional, 2008.

Causes of Cough
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      • What are other options for the treatment of rhinitis and post-nasal drip?
      • Terminology
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      • Common cold facts
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      • What are complications of the common cold?
      • Is it possible to prevent the common cold?
    • Congestive Heart Failure (CHF) Congestive heart failure (CHF) refers to a condition in which the heart loses the ability to function properly. Heart disease,...learn more »
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      • What is the latest news about the enterovirus D68 (EV-D68) outbreak?
      • Where can people find more information about enterovirus infections?
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      • GERD tests
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      • Lifestyle changes and GERD diet
      • GERD medications
      • GERD surgery
      • What is a reasonable approach to the management of GERD?
      • What are the unresolved issues in GERD?
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      • As an adult, do I need the rubella vaccine (MMR)?
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      • What causes hantavirus pulmonary syndrome?
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      • What is the treatment for hantavirus pulmonary syndrome?
      • What are risk factors for hantavirus pulmonary syndrome?
      • What are complications of hantavirus pulmonary syndrome?
      • What is the prognosis of hantavirus pulmonary syndrome?
      • Can hantavirus pulmonary syndrome be prevented?
      • Where can people get more information on hantavirus pulmonary syndrome?
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      • Hodgkin's lymphoma facts*
      • What is the lymph system?
      • What is Hodgkin's lymphoma?
      • What are the types of Hodgkin's lymphoma?
      • How is the staging determined for Hodgkin's lymphoma?
      • What are the stages of Hodgkin's lymphoma?
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      • Who are the doctor's who treat Hodgkin's lymphoma?
      • How do people get a second opinion for Hodgkin's lymphoma?
      • Clinical trials for treatment of Hodgkin's lymphoma
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      • Nutrition during cancer treatment
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      • What other support is available for cancer patients?
    • Legionnaires' Disease Legionellosis is an infection caused by the Legionella pneumophila bacterium. There are two forms of legionellosis: Pontiac fever...learn more »
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      • Where is the Legionella bacterium found?
      • How can Legionnaires' disease be prevented?
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      • Is there a malaria vaccine?
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    • Measles Measles (rubeola) is a highly contagious disease that's caused by a virus. Symptoms include a rash, high fever, cough, runny...learn more »
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      • Measles facts
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      • How is measles spread?
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      • Is measles deadly?
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      • What complications are seen with measles?
      • What is atypical measles?
      • What is modified measles?
      • How is the diagnosis of measles made?
      • If it is not measles, what else could it be?
      • What should I do if I have been exposed to measles?
      • Is there any treatment for measles after symptoms and signs develop?
      • If measles only rarely occurs in the United States, why should I get vaccinated?
      • Do I need to be revaccinated against measles if I am traveling to Europe?
      • What is the prognosis for measles?
      • How can I prevent contracting measles?
      • Is there any truth to the fear of getting autism from vaccines?
      • Who should not receive measles vaccinations?
      • If a child has an egg allergy, can they still receive the measles vaccine?
      • What adverse reactions can occur with the measles vaccination?
      • Who should be revaccinated against measles?
      • Where can I find more information about measles?
    • Mold Mold exposure may cause symptoms in people who are sensitive to molds. Symptoms of mold allergy include sneezing, runny nose,...learn more »
      In This Article
      Mold Article
      • Mold facts
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      • Where can mold be found in homes?
      • What kinds of health problems may be linked to mold? What are symptoms and signs of mold allergy?
      • How can mold in the household be prevented?
      • Is it necessary to test for mold?
      • How should mold be cleaned up and eliminated?
    • Monkeypox Monkeypox is a viral disease that causes symptoms such as fever, sweating, and a rash with papules and pustules on the face and...learn more »
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      • What is the history of monkeypox?
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      • What is the prognosis of monkeypox?
      • Can monkeypox be prevented?
      • What research is being done on monkeypox?
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    • Mucormycosis Mucormycosis (zygomycosis) is a fungal infection caused by Zygomycetes. Symptoms and signs include fever, headache, coughing,...learn more »
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      • What causes mucormycosis?
      • What are risk factors for mucormycosis?
      • What are symptoms and signs of mucormycosis?
      • How is mucormycosis diagnosed?
      • What is the treatment of mucormycosis?
      • What are complications of mucormycosis?
      • What is the prognosis of mucormycosis?
      • Can mucormycosis be prevented?
      • What research is being done on mucormycosis?
      • Where can people find more information on mucormycosis?
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      • What happens when someone uses tobacco for long periods of time?
      • What are other adverse health effects of smoking and tobacco abuse?
      • Smoking and pregnancy: What are the risks?
      • How is tobacco addiction treated?
      • What if a person wants to quit smoking or using tobacco?
    • Non-Hodgkin's Lymphoma Non-Hodgkin's lymphoma is cancer of the lymphatic system, a vital part of the body's immune system. Symptoms include swollen...learn more »
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      • What are risk factors for non-Hodgkin's lymphoma?
      • What are symptoms and signs of non-Hodgkin's lymphoma?
      • How is non-Hodgkin's lymphoma diagnosed?
      • What are the types of non-Hodgkin's lymphoma, and how is non-Hodgkin's lymphoma staging determined?
      • What is the treatment for non-Hodgkin's lymphoma?
      • What is the prognosis and survival rate for non-Hodgkin's lymphoma?
      • Where can people find more information about non-Hodgkin's lymphoma?
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      • What causes plague?
      • What are risk factors for plague?
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      • What is the prognosis of plague?
      • Is it possible to prevent plague?
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      • When does RSV infection occur, and who gets it?
      • Who is at risk for severe disease?
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      • How can RSV infection be prevented?
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      • Some things we don't know about sarcoidosis
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      • What are some signs and symptoms that suggest possible sarcoidosis?
      • What do laboratory tests show?
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      • Living with sarcoidosis
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      • What causes SARS? How is SARS transmitted?
      • What are risk factors for SARS?
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      • How is SARS diagnosed?
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      • What is the prognosis of SARS?
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      • What processes determine normal function of the lung?
      • What are the abnormalities (diseases) in smoker's lung?
      • What happens to the lung in emphysema?
      • How does emphysema come about?
      • Why does smoker's lung look black?
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      • Are smokers with COPD predisposed to developing pneumonia?
      • What about lung cancer in smokers?
      • Are any of the pulmonary consequences of smoking reversible?
      • From what do smokers die?
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      • What is thymoma?
      • What causes thymoma, and what are risk factors for thymoma?
      • What are signs and symptoms of thymoma?
      • What other medical conditions are associated with thymoma?
      • How is thymoma diagnosed?
      • What are the stages of thymoma?
      • What is the treatment for thymoma?
      • What is the prognosis for thymoma?
      • Can thymoma be prevented?
    • Thyroid Cancer There are four major types of thyroid cancer: papillary, follicular, medullary, and anaplastic thyroid cancer. Tumors on the...learn more »
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      • Thyroid cancer facts*
      • What is the thyroid?
      • What is cancer?
      • What are the different types of thyroid cancer?
      • Thyroid cancer symptoms*
      • How is thyroid cancer diagnosed?
      • How is staging determined for thyroid cancer?
      • What is the treatment for thyroid cancer?
      • Surgery
      • Thyroid hormone treatment
      • Radioactive iodine therapy
      • External radiation therapy
      • Chemotherapy
      • Second opinion
      • Follow-up care
      • Sources of support
      • Taking part in cancer research
    • Tuberculosis (TB) Mycobacterium tuberculosis is the bacterium that causes tuberculosis (TB). Symptoms and signs of TB include bloody sputum, fever,...learn more »
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      • Tuberculosis (TB) facts
      • What is tuberculosis?
      • Are there different types of tuberculosis (TB)?
      • What causes tuberculosis?
      • What are risk factors for tuberculosis?
      • What are tuberculosis symptoms and signs?
      • How do physicians diagnose tuberculosis?
      • What is the treatment for tuberculosis?
      • What are complications of tuberculosis?
      • What is the prognosis of tuberculosis?
      • How can people prevent tuberculosis?
    • Upper Respiratory Tract Infection An upper respiratory infection is a contagious infection of the structures of the upper respiratory tract, which includes the...learn more »
      In This Article
      Upper Respiratory Tract Infection Article
      • Upper respiratory infection facts
      • What is an upper respiratory infection?
      • Is an upper respiratory infection contagious?
      • What are the causes of upper respiratory infection?
      • What are the risk factors for upper respiratory infection?
      • What are the symptoms of upper respiratory infection?
      • When should you seek medical care for upper respiratory infection?
      • How is an upper respiratory infection diagnosed?
      • What is the treatment for upper respiratory infection?
      • What are some of the home remedies for upper respiratory infection?
      • What are some data on alternative therapies in treating upper respiratory infections?
      • What are the complications of an upper respiratory infection?
      • Can an upper respiratory infection be prevented?
      • What is the outlook for a patient suffering from an upper respiratory infection?
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      In This Article
      Vancomycin-Resistant Enterococci (VRE) Article
      • Vancomycin-resistant enterococci (VRE) facts
      • What are vancomycin-resistant enterococci (VRE)?
      • What causes a vancomycin-resistant enterococcal (VRE) infection?
      • What are risk factors for vancomycin-resistant enterococci (VRE) infections?
      • How are vancomycin-resistant enterococci (VRE) transmitted?
      • What are the symptoms and signs of a vancomycin-resistant enterococcal (VRE) infection?
      • How do physicians diagnose vancomycin-resistant enterococcal (VRE) infections?
      • What is the treatment for a vancomycin-resistant enterococcal (VRE) infection?
      • What is the prognosis of a vancomycin-resistant enterococcal (VRE) infection?
      • What are the complications of VRE infections?
      • Is it possible to prevent vancomycin-resistant enterococci (VRE) infections?
      • What precautions should people take when tending to someone with a vancomycin-resistant enterococcal (VRE) infection?
      • What research is being done on vancomycin-resistant enterococci (VRE)?
      • Where can people find more information on vancomycin-resistant enterococci (VRE) infections?
    • Whooping Cough (Pertussis) Whooping cough (pertussis) is highly contagious respiratory infection that is caused by the bacteria Bordetella pertussis. There...learn more »
      In This Article
      Whooping Cough (Pertussis) Article
      • Whooping cough (pertussis) facts
      • What is whooping cough? What is the history of whooping cough?
      • What causes whooping cough?
      • What are risk factors for whooping cough?
      • Can whooping cough be prevented with a vaccine?
      • What are whooping cough symptoms, signs, and stages?
      • How is whooping cough transmitted?
      • Can adults get whooping cough?
      • How is whooping cough diagnosed?
      • What is the treatment for whooping cough?
      • What is the prognosis for whooping cough?
      • What are possible complications of whooping cough?
      • Where can people find more information about whooping cough (pertussis)?
Other Causes of Cough
  • Bacterial Infections of Lungs or Airways
  • Chemical Irritation (Tear Gas, Fumes, Smoke)
  • Medications
  • Viral Infections of Lungs or Airways
Examples of Medications for Cough
  • guaifenesin, Humibid, Humibid LA, Robitussin, Organidin NR, Fenesin, Mucinex


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