A modern approach to cough management
Coughing is one of the most common symptomatic reasons for patients to consult their healthcare practitioners. Their coughing may be caused by various factors such as respiratory tract infections, asthma, inhaled irritants, postnasal drip syndrome and gastro-oesophageal reflux disease. Coughing can be classified as either acute or chronic cough, and acute coughing is usually self-limiting. Patients can present with either 'wet' (chesty or productive) or 'dry' (non-productive) coughs. Unfortunately, a cough is generally uncomfortable and may interfere with daily activities, including sleep. Understanding how coughs manifest enables the health professional to provide adequate therapy. Evidence suggests that cough mixtures' effectiveness is disputable, but many patients have reported good results; hence, the medication is used in various combinations. This article provides an overview of the pathophysiology, causes and treatment of acute cough.