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Cough Evaluation

Male doctor examining coughing senior patient in clinic
Coughing is a common symptom for which people visit medical providers. Coughing can be a symptom of many underlying etiologies and contagious diseases. The current COVID-19 pandemic includes cough as a dominant symptom.

Assessment of a cough is essential for diagnosis. Many conditions are associated with a specific type of cough – whether it is intermittent, persistent, whooping, productive, or nocturnal.

What is chronic cough?

A cough that lasts for more than eight weeks is known as a chronic cough and may be a sign of a serious underlying disease. Chronic coughs have many causes. Frequently, if the underlying problem is fixed, the cough will go away.

Cause

Some causes of cough include:

  • Exposure to noxious substances in daily environment
  • Smoking
  • COPD
  • Tuberculosis
  • Inhalation of an organism or foreign body
  • Emphysema
  • Gastroesophageal/laryngopharyngeal reflux disease (GERD)
  • Reactions to medications
  • Bronchitis
  • Pertussis (whooping cough)

Steps for cough evaluation

Initial cough assessment includes identification of potential triggers and obtaining a person’s medical background and history.

A good history can narrow down the cause of the cough. Part of getting a history includes identifying environmental and medication irritants. After this, a detailed physical examination of the patient will further help with a diagnosis.

A chest X-ray or CT scan is sometimes used to check for signs of pneumonia, cancer, or other underlying lung issue.

Complications

Red flags that a cough is serious include unintended weight loss, fever, hoarseness, blood in saliva or spit, shortness of breath or difficulty breathing.

Untreated severe, persistent, cough can lead to breathing difficulties, vomiting, muscle pain, rib fractures, urinary incontinence, tiredness, dizziness, and depression. This, combined with difficult social interactions, can reduce a person’s quality of life.

Contact us

In case of urgent medical care assistance, AfterOurs Urgent Care offers immediate telemedicine services, where medical providers are available to offer assistance. Anyone who experiences signs and symptoms requiring urgent medical attention can simply book their appointment with AfterOurs Urgent Care to directly talk to an expert. If your medical issue is not appropriate for telemedicine, we will let you know and refer you to an in-person facility.

When to visit a doctor:

If you have a persistent cough, you should see a medical practitioner to rule out serious illness.

Treatment for cough is available at AfterOurs Urgent Care.