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Open Access Highly Accessed Review

The difficult coughing child: prolonged acute cough in children

Michael D Shields1* and Surendran Thavagnanam2

Author Affiliations

1 Respiratory Medicine, Royal Belfast Hospital for Sick Children, Centre for Infection & Immunity, Queen’s University Belfast, Health Sciences Building, 97 Lisburn Road, Belfast, Bt7 9BL, N Ireland, UK

2 Department of Paediatric Respiratory Medicine, Faculty of Medicine, University of Malaya, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

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Cough 2013, 9:11  doi:10.1186/1745-9974-9-11

Published: 10 April 2013

Abstract

Cough is one of the most common symptoms that patients bring to the attention of primary care clinicians. Cough can be designated as acute (<3 weeks in duration), prolonged acute cough (3 to 8 weeks in duration) or chronic (> 8 weeks in duration). The use of the term ‘prolonged acute cough’ in a cough guideline allows a period of natural resolution to occur before further investigations are warranted. The common causes are in children with post viral or pertussis like illnesses causing the cough. Persistent bacterial bronchitis typically occurs when an initial dry acute cough due to a viral infection becomes a prolonged wet cough remaining long after the febrile illness has resolved. This cough responds to a completed course of appropriate antibiotics.

Keywords:
Prolonged acute cough; Children