Chronic Cough

Overview and Symptoms:

Chronic cough is a cough that lasts eight weeks or longer in adults, or four weeks in children. The cough is more than a nuisance and cause disrupt sleep and interfere with your daily life.

The exact cause of chronic coughs may be difficult to diagnose.

The most common causes include:

  • Postnasal drip from chronic sinus or allergies
  • Asthma. Cough can sometimes be the only symptom of asthma.
  • Gastroesophageal (ACID) reflux disease (GERD). Stomach acid can sometimes flows back into from your stomach into your throat (esophagus) and cause irritation leading to chronic coughing.
  • Infections. Cough can occur due to a chronic sinus or lung infection. It may also linger for months after an infection.
  • Blood pressure medications. Certain medications can cause coughing (eg. ACE Inhibitors).
  • Chronic bronchitis or COPD (Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease).


Diagnosis of Chronic Cough requires a complete review of your respiratory history and physical exam.

It is also important to measure your lung function when evaluating for chronic cough.

A Spirometry (Pulmonary Function Test) will help measure lung function. This test estimates the narrowing of your bronchial tubes by checking how much air you can exhale after a deep breath and how fast you can breathe out.

Chest Xray or CT scan may also be required.

To help determine specific triggers, allergy testing is also helpful.

Types of allergy test:

Skin test  – Food, Environmental, Drug

Blood Test  – Food, Environmental, Drug

Like most allergists, we opt to perform skin testing as it is safe, reliable and yields prompt results that we can use to tailor your individual treatment plan.


Determining the cause of chronic cough is crucial to effective treatment. In many cases, more than one underlying condition may be causing your chronic cough.

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