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Back to Chest Symptoms

Acute cough

The duration of cough does not exceed 3 weeks (for chronic cough click here)

If accompanied  by dyspnea then investigate as a case of dyspnea.

A. Dry Cough

Exclude Exertional, Timing, Character, Pain "EE, TCP"


1. Exclude exertional cough

First exclude cardiac causes of cough

Exertional cough is suggestive of heart failure.

2. Character of cough

3. Timing of cough

4. Associated pain

  • Pleuretic (pleurisy)

  • Retrosternal (trachiitis)

  • Muscle pain: from exertion

B. Productive cough

(Odour, Character, Posture)

1. Odor of mucous

  • Offensive odor = anaerobic infection

2. Character of mucous

3. Relation to posture

Occurs in suppurative lung disease.

  • lung abscess: on lying on the healthy side

  • bronchiectasis: on leaning forwards.

If any risk factors arouse concern then perform an x-ray.

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