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Lung Center

Chronic Cough Program Conditions and Treatments

The goal of Temple’s Chronic Cough Program is to narrow down the possible causes of a chronic cough.

What Are the Different Types of Cough?

Depending on how long it lasts, there are 3 categories of cough, all of which are treated at Temple:

TYPE DURATION CAUSED BY
Acute Cough Less than 3 weeks Infection, asthma or allergies
Sub-Acute Cough 3 to 8 weeks Often remains after an initial infection is over
Chronic Cough More than 8 weeks Various long-term conditions

What Can Cause a Chronic Cough?

The most common causes of chronic cough include:

How Do You Treat a Chronic Cough?

Before treating chronic cough, doctors must properly diagnose its cause. Our lung specialists commonly begin with a physical exam, a review of the patient’s medical history and various tests. 

Common Questions Your Doctor Will Ask

  • Does the cough start in the morning and last all day? Does it start at night?
  • Is it a dry cough or is mucus present?
  • Could the cough be triggered by ACE inhibitors or other medications?
  • Is the cough accompanied by heartburn, vomiting, hoarseness or difficulty swallowing?

Treating Asthma, Acid Reflux and Post-Nasal Drip

Because many chronic coughs are caused by asthma, acid reflux or post-nasal drip, our lung specialists consider these conditions first. If one of these conditions is diagnosed, the doctor will treat it appropriately:

  • For asthma — Avoiding triggers is the first step in controlling your asthma. Your doctor may also prescribe long-term or quick-acting medications. For severe asthma, more advanced options might be considered.
  • For post-nasal drip — Intranasal steroid spray or antihistamines are often first tried to treat post-nasal drip.
  • For acid reflux — Lifestyle changes such as losing weight, elevating the head of the bed, avoiding certain foods and taking medication to suppress stomach acid may be recommended.  

What If Your Cough Doesn't Go Away Despite Treatment?

If the cough continues despite treatment, further tests may be needed to look for a more serious condition, such as COPD or lung cancer. Common tests include:

Ready for an Appointment?

To schedule an appointment with a lung specialist, call 800-TEMPLE-MED or request an appointment online.