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Side Effect: Cough

What is a cough?

A cough begins with an irritation in the throat or lungs. The purpose of a cough is to try to expel, or get rid of, any foreign particles and restore air flow into and throughout the lungs.

What does coughing look like?

Depending upon the the cause of the cough, it may look and feel differently. For example, a cough caused by a medication known as an ACE inhibitor usually presents as a persistent dry cough, whereas an infection may cause fluid accumulation in the lung and sound more like a wet cough. If there is ever concern about your ability to breathe, you should call emergency services, go to your nearest emergency department, or see your doctor right away.


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The development of a sudden or persistent cough is reason to call your doctor right away to determine the cause and appropriate treatment

Who gets a cough?

If you suddenly develop a cough, it is important to determine if it requires immediate medical attention. For example, a blood clot in the lung, or certain types of lung infections can be life-threatening and should be addressed as soon as possible.

There are many other possible causes for coughing, such as:

How long can coughing last?

The duration of coughing depends entirely upon the cause and the abiiity to identify the cause and treat it. For example:

How do you prevent a cough?

Underlying conditions, such as asthma, or seasonal allergies are common causes of cough that may be preventable with medications. The best way to prevent a cough is to avoid triggers whenever possible.

To prevent infectious causes of a cough, some patients may qualify to receive preventative medications based upon the chemotherapy treatment they receive. This type of antimicrobial therapy is often referred to as "prophy," or prophylaxis.

How do you treat a cough?

If your doctor determines it is safe to take cough suppressants, the following may be recommended or prescribed:

Over-the-counter cough suppressants:

Prescription cough suppressants:

Created: February 10, 2024 Updated: February 21, 2024