Persistent cough - First Aid

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First aid

First aid

Respiratory problems

Cough Choking on food and foreign bodies Asthmatic access
  • Cough
  • Suffocation from food and foreign bodies
  • Asthmatic access

Persistent cough

Chronic or persistent coughing is a constantly growing medical and economic problem throughout the industrialized world. However, many of the people who are concerned with it consider cough more a nuisance disorder than a potentially serious symptom.

By far the most frequent causes of chronic cough are the syndrome called postnasal-drip, which consists of a dripping of nasal secretions into the respiratory tract through the retropharynx (for primitive pathology of the nose or paranasal sinuses); asthma (where cough is sometimes the only symptom, in the absence of bronchospasm and dyspnea) and gastroesophageal reflux. Retronasal drip syndrome is particularly difficult to diagnose because there are no tests that can reveal it. Less frequent causes are chronic bronchitis (from smoking or other irritants), cough from taking ACE inhibitors and eosinophilic bronchitis. Rare causes may be the presence of a tumor or sarcoidosis not evident in radiological investigations, and left ventricular failure without dyspnea. It should also be said that in many cases there is more than one factor involved, which can be the reason for therapeutic failures (or only partial successes) if one of the causes remains unknown. An effective therapeutic approach requires the recognition of the underlying disease and the possibility of removing the responsible irritative stimulus, for example the cessation of smoking, the removal of any foreign bodies, the use of antacid drugs in the gastroesophageal reflux, the surgical closure of esophagus fistulas -tracheal, treatment of asthma and left ventricular failure etc. Cough should never be neglected as it can be an indicator of serious diseases: it should not be forgotten that, although not a specific symptom, cough has a significant association with lung cancer, especially in heavy smokers. A severe, persistent, inexplicable cough in patients over the age of 40, even with a normal chest radiogram, is an absolute indication for many authors for bronchoscopy for an early diagnosis of lung cancer.

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