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Chronic Cough

The allergy, asthma, and immunology specialists at UPMC in central Pa. evaluate and treat chronic cough in children and adults.

Why Choose UPMC in Central Pa. for Chronic Cough Treatment?

At UPMC in central Pa., we understand that a chronic cough can affect your sleep, energy level, and overall quality of life. That’s why we conduct a complete evaluation to look for underlying conditions that may be causing your chronic cough. We offer a full range of tests and treatments for chronic cough, including:

Diagnostic Tests for Chronic Cough

  • Imaging tests. Your doctor may order imaging tests, such as a chest x-ray or CT scan, to look for the cause of your chronic cough.
  • Skin testing. Skin testing, also called scratch testing, exposes your skin to small amounts of allergy-causing substances (allergens) and can identify environmental allergy triggers, such as pollen, dust mites, pets, and mold, that may be related to your chronic cough.
  • Pulmonary (lung) function tests. Lung function tests are noninvasive and provide information about how well your lungs are working. There are several types of lung function tests, including:
    • Spirometry. A spirometry test measures how much air your lungs can hold and how forcefully you can breathe out.
    • Lung volume test. A lung volume test measures the volume of air in your lungs and how much air is left in your lungs at the end of a normal breath.

After your first round of lung function testing, your health care provider may give you an inhaled medication called a bronchodilator and ask you to repeat the test(s). Your health care provider will compare your test results to determine if the medication was effective.

Medications for Chronic Cough

  • Medications may be able to help treat your chronic cough if it is caused by post-nasal drip, asthma, infection, or acid reflux. Your health care provider will let you know what type of medication is right for your condition.

Patient Education for Chronic Cough

  • Our specialists provide the education and information you need to manage your chronic cough, including asthma inhaler instruction and recommendations to help you avoid allergy or asthma triggers.

Chronic Cough Evaluation and Treatment at UPMC

What is a chronic cough?

A chronic cough is a cough that lasts longer than eight weeks in adults, or longer than four weeks in children. Common causes of chronic cough include:

  • Asthma
  • Blood pressure medications
  • Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD)
  • Postnasal drip
  • Viral or bacterial infections

What are the symptoms of chronic cough?

Although the main symptom is a cough, people who have a chronic cough may also experience other related symptoms that can sometimes point to an underlying medical condition. Other related symptoms may include:

  • Nasal congestion
  • Postnasal drip
  • Heartburn or a bad taste in the mouth
  • Sore throat
  • Frequent throat clearing
  • Shortness of breath
  • Wheezing

Who is at risk for chronic cough?

Current or previous exposure to tobacco smoke can put you at a higher risk of developing a chronic cough. Women also may be more likely to develop a chronic cough than men because women tend to have more sensitive cough reflexes.

How can I prevent chronic cough?

Although you may not be able to prevent all causes of a chronic cough, there are a few things you can do to lower your risk. If you have allergies or asthma, avoiding triggers may help to prevent a chronic cough. You should also avoid exposure to tobacco smoke.



Specialty Care ENT – UPMC
508 S. Washington Street
Gettysburg, PA 17325

Phone: 717-334-8171
Fax: 717-334-8172

Specialty Care ENT – UPMC
250 Fame Avenue
Suite 201, (Entrance A)
Hanover, PA 17331

Phone: 717-633-9229
Fax: 717-633-5552

UPMC Allergy and Immunology
Located at UPMC Outpatient Center
21 Waterford Drive
Mechanicsburg, PA 17050

Phone: 717-988-9180
Fax: 717-775-5723 


Need more information?

Many of our providers offer video visits. Call the office or schedule via your patient portal.

Phone: 717-988-9180

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