Diseases, Conditions, Syndromes

Whooping cough on the rise again

(Medical Xpress)—Whooping cough (Pertussis) is a highly contagious disease caused by the bacterium Bordetella pertussis and characterized by attacks of severe coughing, often (but not always) with a characteristic high-pitched ...

Diseases, Conditions, Syndromes

Natural language processing helps identify patients with chronic cough

Researchers from Regenstrief Institute, Indiana University School of Medicine and Merck & Co. created and validated a natural language processing (NLP) algorithm to identify patients with chronic cough. The validation paper, ...

Medical research

'Cough chamber' shows six feet not far enough

A recent Western-led study says two meters might not be far enough away if someone lets an uncovered cough loose in your direction—meaning sneeze and cough etiquette is more than a simple social nicety, but a key to stopping ...

Diseases, Conditions, Syndromes

Tuberculosis bacteria trigger cough, facilitating spread

The bacteria that cause the deadly lung disease tuberculosis appear to facilitate their own spread by producing a molecule that triggers cough, a new study led by UTSW researchers shows. The findings, published online March ...

Pediatrics

Whooping cough evolving into a superbug

Whooping cough bacteria are becoming smarter at colonizing and feeding off unwitting hosts, strengthening calls for a new vaccine, according to UNSW researchers.

Health

Airborne bacteria remain live for 45 minutes

Cover your mouth when sneezing or coughing and wash your hands. QUT and UQ scientists have developed a new technique to study how some common disease causing bacteria can spread up to 4m and remain alive in the air for up ...

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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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