In: StatPearls [Internet]. Treasure Island (FL): StatPearls Publishing; 2023 Jan.


A cough is one of the most common medical complaints accounting for as many as 30 million clinical visits per year. Up to 40% of these complaints result in referral to a pulmonologist. A cough is an innate primitive reflex and acts as part of the body’s immune system to protect against foreign materials. Coughing is associated with a wide assortment of clinical associations and etiologies. Furthermore, there are no objective tools to measure or clinically quantify a cough. As such, the evaluation of a cough is initially a subjective and highly variable assessment. Given the vagueness of this symptom’s nature, along with the risk of an insidious underlying etiology, heavy impact on quality of life, and a lack of objective tools, coughing should be evaluated and treated as an important issue until a benign source is isolated.

Publication types

  • Study Guide