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by Alan R


An acute cough is usually caused by an infection, such as a cold or flu. In some cases, an acute cough can be the sign of other conditions, such as:
Subacute cough is often a cough that follows a respiratory infection. It can also be caused by exposure to irritants or to anything that can cause chronic cough.
A chronic cough has many causes. Common examples include:
Alveoli (Air Sacs) of Lung
Chronic Bronchitis
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To reduce your chances of developing a cough:
  • If you smoke, talk to your doctor about strategies to quit. Smoking affects your lung function and increases your risk of many diseases.
  • Get proper treatment for the underlying condition.
  • When working in areas where harmful fumes or airborne substances are present:
    • Be sure the area is properly ventilated.
    • Wear a protective mask or respirator.


Family Doctor—American Academy of Family Physicians

American Lung Association



The Canadian Lung Association

Health Canada



Chronic cough in adults. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: Updated June 18, 2014. Accessed September 17, 2014.

Cough. American Academy of Family Physicians Family Doctor website. Available at: Accessed September 17, 2014.

Coughlin L. Cough: Diagnosis and management. Am Fam Physician. 2007;75(4):567-575.

1/30/2008 DynaMed's Systematic Literature Surveillance Public health advisory: Nonprescription cough and cold medicine use in children—FDA recommends that over-the-counter (OTC) cough and cold products not be used for infants and children under 2 years of age. US Food and Drug Administration website. Available at: Updated August 20, 2013. Accessed September 17, 2014.

1/30/2008 DynaMed's Systematic Literature Surveillance Paul IM, Beiler J, McMonagle A, Shaffer ML, Duda L, Berlin CM Jr. Effect of honey, dextromethorphan, and no treatment on nocturnal cough and sleep quality for coughing children and their parents. Arch Pediatr Adolesc Med. 2007;161:1149-1153.

11/12/2010 DynaMed's Systematic Literature Surveillance Smith S, Schroeder K, Fahey T. Over-the-counter (OTC) medications for acute cough in children and adults in ambulatory settings. Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2010;(9):CD001831.


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