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Chronic Cough - General Information

What is Chronic Cough?

Do you have a cough that just won’t go away? You may be suffering from chronic cough, or cough hypersensitivity. This condition can impact all parts of your daily life including your physical, social and emotional well-being.

Chronic cough is a daily cough that lasts more than eight weeks in adults. It is a common symptom of many respiratory and other diseases but it can be difficult to diagnose the cause and treat.

When you have a cough that lasts more than 8 weeks, it is important to see your doctor. Your doctor will investigate your symptoms, and order the appropriate tests (chest x-rays, breathing tests, and blood tests, among others) to eliminate the more serious causes for your cough.

couple walking along grass path

Understanding your cough

If you haven’t already, you can start paying attention to the details of your cough.

What is “the urge to cough?”
Many people will have a sensation somewhere in the throat or chest before a cough. This is called the “urge to cough”, and you’ll need to pay close attention to it so that you can learn to try and manage it when it happens.

What is the difference between an intentional and an unintentional cough?

  • An intentional cough is one that you do on purpose in response to a sensation, such as a tickle or itch in the throat. If you have time to inhale, or think, before the cough, then it is an intentional cough.
  • An unintentional cough is one that catches you off guard without warning.

Try your best to pay attention to what types of coughing tends to happen most. The intentional coughs are the ones you can learn to manage the fastest.

Managing Chronic Cough

Chronic cough is a complex condition. It has many causes that may be treated with medications. There are several non-medication interventions that may also be very effective in managing your chronic cough.

Keep reading below to find out more about how you can manage the impact of Chronic Cough.

Living Well with Chronic Cough - Patient Education Series

With Living Well with Chronic Cough, you will learn skills that can help you to adopt a healthy new lifestyle and behaviors. This program was designed so that you can choose what is important to you, and for you to go through the information at your own pace.

You may go through the learning modules from beginning to end, or move to the topics that are the most important to you. You can share them with people close to you so they can understand what you are going through and support you in the learning process.

Living Well with Chronic Cough means understanding your cough, identifying your triggers, and managing your symptoms using different strategies and techniques to live a healthy and fulfilling life.

This series was developed in consultation with groups of expert healthcare professionals, educators, and chronic cough patients across Canada and was made possible thanks to support from Merck Canada.

Managing the Impact of Chronic Cough

When a cause for your cough has been ruled out, or if it has been treated, and you’re still coughing there may be something you can do about it. Managing chronic cough and the impact that chronic cough has on daily life is possible. In this module, you will be given information, strategies, tips, and resources that can help you find relief from your chronic cough. Some of the most helpful treatments involve changing behaviors that may be contributing to your cough..

Canadian Chronic Cough Initiative

The Canadian Chronic Cough Initiative is the first Canadian report to document the challenges of diagnosing and managing chronic cough and detailing the toll taken on those with this condition. The report has been prepared by Canadian and International physicians who are respiratory specialists, other health care providers involved in respiratory care and those with lived experience. The report outlines the most current thinking about how chronic cough can be managed and makes recommendations for improving care in the future.

Report of Findings - 2021

"I don't remember ever not coughing. I wake up choking from my sleep.”

“It's really, really hard to be in public, during COVID, when you could have a cough attack, I've been places and having to run out of the store just so I can have my cough attack, because everybody looks at you like you're infectious and have COVID.”

Read our Chronic Cough report for insight and opinions on chronic cough in Canada today and how patients can be better served.

News paper rolled up

News Release

Coughing is one of the most common reasons for visiting a family physician and it can be a symptom of many ailments. Yet, a cough that does not go away for 8 weeks or more is one of the most challenging conditions for a physician to treat and is often under-recognized and poorly managed.

Click here for full news release

Chronic cough affects around 10% of the general population and can be associated with many different medical conditions.

Learn more about chronic cough

Visit Chronic-Cough Canada - Aiming to improve quality of life for patients living with chronic cough.

Resources For Healthcare Professionals:

  • Chronic Cough Podcast Series: “The Successful Chronic Cough Journey”

Interested in Chronic Cough?

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Further Reading: More About Chronic Cough

The Importance of Education in Chronic Cough

Chronic Cough is often times still thought of as a symptom of another disease process and not a separate disease in itself. Which, in many cases, it is.
In this blog we will look at the importance of education in chronic cough. Education in chronic cough is important for medical school students, residents, and physicians alike.

Read More »