What it feels like: varies from simple cough to coughing up sputumor blood, sometimes accompanied by other symptoms, includingsore throat, wheezing, or difficulty breathing.

What can make it worse: cold air, exercise, dust, the changing seasons.

Most sudden cases of cough are caused by a virus, and last for lessthan three weeks.

Your Doctor Visit

What your doctor will ask you about: runny nose, sore throat,facial pain, sputum production, coughing up blood, trouble breath-ing, trouble breathing except when upright, wheezing, chest pain,fever, chills, sweats, weight loss, leg pain, or ankle swelling.

Your doc-tor will also want to know if you’ve ever had a positive test for tuber-culosis, or if you’ve had a chest X-ray, and what it showed.

Your doctor will want to know if you or anyone in your family hashad any of these conditions: lung infection, cardiovascular disease,lung disease, tuberculosis, asthma, AIDS, heartburn, heart valve dis-ease, bronchitis or bronchiectasis, pulmonary embolism, lung tumor.

Your doctor will want to know if you smoke cigarettes or havebeen exposed to tuberculosis or industrial dusts such asasbestos.

Your doctor will want to know if you’re taking any of these med-ications: angiotensin-converting enzyme (ACE) inhibitors (such ascaptopril), beta-blockers.

Your doctor will do a physical examination including the fol-lowing: temperature, weight, breathing rate, checking sinuses for tenderness, checking the throat for redness, listening to the chest andheart with a stethoscope, checking limbs for swelling or tenderness.


Cause: Upper  respiratory infection
What is it:  Common cold and other  infections of the nose   and upper respiratory airways
Typcal Sypmtoms:  Runny nose, sore throat,  facial pain, general malaise

Cause: Bacterial  infections
What is it: Pneumonia or other   infections of the airways and lungs
Typcal Sypmtoms: Begin over a few hours or  days, usually accompanied  by coughing up green oryellow fluid, fever or chills,sometimes coughing upblood, chest pain, fever

Cause: Bronchitis or  bronchiectasis
What is it: Infection or inflammation  in the air passages  leading to the lungs  (bronchitis), or destruc- tion and opening of the airways caused by another disorder (bronchiectasis)
Typcal Sypmtoms: Chronic cough, trouble  breathing, coughing up  sputum, symptoms worsening in morning

Cause: Asthma
What is it:  Recurrent attacks of  wheezing, coughing, and  shortness of breath  brought on by certain  triggers
Typcal Sypmtoms: Dry cough, sometimes trouble breathing and wheezing, often aggravatedby exercise, cold air, a recent cold, taking beta blockers

Cause: Croup (child)
What is it: Infection of the voice  box
Typcal Sypmtoms: Barking cough, wheezing,  fever, hoarseness, typicallyappears after a cold, morecommon in childrenbetween 6 months and 3 years old

Cause:  Whooping  cough (child)
What is it:  Bacterial infection that   produces coughing  spasms that produce a  “whoop” sound
Typcal Sypmtoms:  Fever, wheezing, staccato  cough, nausea, vomiting,  most severe in infants

Cause: Medication use
What is it: Captopril or other angiotensin-converting enzyme (ACE) inhibitors (to treat high blood pressure), beta-blockers
Typcal Sypmtoms: Normal

Cause:  Heartburn
What is it: Also known as GERD  (GastroEsophageal Reflux Disease), the movement  of stomach acid up into  and through the esop- hagus, which connects  the throat to the stomach; can lead to ulcer
Typcal Sypmtoms: Burning upper abdominal  pain, worse when lying flat  or bending over, particularly  soon after meals, relieved  by antacids or sitting  upright

Cause: Cigarette  smoking
What is it: Damage caused by   long-term habit
Typcal Sypmtoms:  Coughing up small amounts of sputum; overtime can lead to lung disease

Cause: Chronic lung  disease
What is it: Diseases of the lungs  such as bronchitis or  emphysema
Typcal Sypmtoms: Trouble breathing, cough  and coughing up sputum  worsen when first wake upfrom sleep, more commonin smokers or peopleexposed to industrial dust

Cause: Psychogenic
What is it: Psychological or  emotional problems
Typcal Sypmtoms: Barking, loud cough,  occurring more often indaytime

Cause: Tuberculosis
What is it: Infection by tuberculosis,most common in people with compromised  immunity, such as patients with AIDS or who have had organ transplants
Typcal Sypmtoms: Fever, night sweats, weight loss, chronic cough, coughing up blood

CauseCongestive  heart failure,  mitral stenosis
What is it: A condition whereby the heart is unable to pump   enough blood to meet  the body’s needs (heart  failure), or disease  resulting from problems with a heart valve (mitral stenosis)
Typcal Sypmtoms: Nighttime cough, trouble  breathing except when  upright, ankle swelling,  family history of rheumatic  fever or heart valve disease

Cause: Lung tumor
What is it: Abnormal growth of cells in the lungs
Typcal Sypmtoms: Change in cough pattern,  chest ache, coughing upblood, more common incigarette smokers

Cause: Pulmonary  embolus
What is it: Blood clot that blocks the   blood vessels feeding the  lungs
Typcal Sypmtoms: Chest pain, apprehension,  sweating, feeling faint,  coughing up blood, rapidbreathing, sometimes his-tory of calf pain or legimmobilization such as onlong trips


  • cough
  • coughing
  • respiratory failure
  • coughing exercise
  • cold and cough