Chronic Coughs Need a Doctor's Attention

THURSDAY Dec. 27, 2007 -- If you wake up due to coughing or have a cough that lasts for weeks, you may have a potentially serious problem that requires medical attention.

"Cough is the most common respiratory symptom for which patients seek medical attention," Dr. Alan B. Goldsobel, chairman of the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology's cough committee, said in a prepared statement.

"Cough protects the body by removing mucus and irritating particles from the respiratory tract. Coughing is a useful function and does not always mean there is a problem ...," Goldsobel explained. "However, coughing at night, after going to sleep indicates the need for medical attention."

Common causes of coughing include: viral upper respiratory tract infections; asthma; nasal and sinus disease; stomach and esophageal problems; an inhaled foreign body; habit; and environmental irritants.

People should see an allergist/immunologist if they have:

  • a cough that lasts three to eight weeks or more;
  • a cough that coexists with asthma;
  • coexisting chronic cough and nasal symptoms;
  • a chronic cough and tobacco use or exposure.

More information

To learn more about cough and children, visit the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology.

Posted: December 2007


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