Pediatrics

Diagnosing the cause of exercise-induced respiratory symptoms

Exercise-induced respiratory symptoms are common in childhood, and it can be difficult to diagnose their cause. A study published in Pediatric Pulmonology found that the diagnoses proposed by primary care physicians are often ...

Diseases, Conditions, Syndromes

The good cough and the bad cough

Researchers might be able to treat a troublesome cough in disease without disrupting the protective cough we need for optimal lung health, by targeting the different brain circuits involved. That's according to new research ...

Diseases, Conditions, Syndromes

Covid-19 intubation may be less risky than feared: study

Procedures like inserting or removing breathing tubes, which were thought to pose a serious danger of COVID-19 transmission to health workers, produce less aerosols than a normal cough, according to new research published ...

Diseases, Conditions, Syndromes

There may be 6 types of COVID-19

COVID-19 may not be just one disease, but six distinct types, a new British study claims.

Diseases, Conditions, Syndromes

Study confirms "classic" symptoms of COVID-19

A persistent cough and fever have been confirmed as the most prevalent symptoms associated with COVID-19, according to a major review of the scientific literature.

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Cough

A cough ( pronunciation (help·info) Latin: tussis) is a sudden and often repetitively occurring reflex which helps to clear the large breathing passages from secretions, irritants, foreign particles and microbes. The cough reflex consists of three phases: an inhalation, a forced exhalation against a closed glottis, and a violent release of air from the lungs following opening of the glottis, usually accompanied by a distinctive sound. Coughing can happen voluntarily as well as involuntarily.

Frequent coughing usually indicates the presence of a disease. Many viruses and bacteria benefit evolutionarily by causing the host to cough, which helps to spread the disease to new hosts. Most of the time, coughing is caused by a respiratory tract infection but can be triggered by choking, smoking, air pollution, asthma, gastroesophageal reflux disease, post-nasal drip, chronic bronchitis, lung tumors, heart failure and medications such as ACE inhibitors.

Treatment should target the cause; for example, smoking cessation or discontinuing ACE inhibitors. Some people may be worried about serious illnesses, and reassurance may suffice. Cough suppressants such as codeine or dextromethorphan are frequently prescribed, but have been demonstrated to have little effect.[citation needed] Other treatment options may target airway inflammation or may promote mucus expectoration. As it is a natural protective reflex, suppressing the cough reflex might have damaging effects, especially if the cough is productive.

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