|Other names: Post viral cough|
|Boy coughing due to whooping cough due to pertussis.|
|Complications||Trouble sleeping, stress incontinence|
|Duration||3 to 8 weeks|
|Causes||Respiratory tract infection|
|Diagnostic method||Based on symptoms after ruling out other causes|
|Differential diagnosis||Asthma, GERD, COPD, pneumonia, tuberculosis|
|Treatment||Time, inhaled corticosteroids, ipratropium/salbutamol|
|Frequency||Up to 25% of respiratory infections|
Postinfectious cough (PIC) is a cough that lasts 3 to 8 weeks after a respiratory tract infection, such as a common cold or flu. The cough generally does not result in the production of mucus. After pertussis the cough can be particularly severe, with vomiting or a whoop after an episode. Complications may include trouble sleeping or stress incontinence.
The underlying mechanism may involve a number of factors including heightened sensitivity of the respiratory tract, increased mucus production, postnasal drip, and reflux. Diagnosis is based on symptoms after ruling out other possible causes. It is classified as subacute.
While most people get better after a further 3 weeks, inhaled corticosteroids or ipratropium/salbutamol may help. A steroid nose spray may be used in those in whom postnasal drip may be contributing. The use of antibiotics is generally not indicated. Other options may include dextromethorphan.
Postinfectious cough occurs in up to 25% of respiratory infection and up to half of cases of pertussis. In COVID-19 cough lasts for more than 4 or 5 weeks in about 5 to 10% of people. Children are more commonly affected. It occurs more commonly during winter.
Signs and sympoms
Symptoms is a cough that lasts 3 to 8 weeks after a respiratory tract infection, such as a common cold or flu. Worrisome signs include coughing out blood, significant shortness of breath, ongoing fever or chills, and abnormal vital signs.
One possible cause is that the receptors that are responsible for stimulating the cough during the respiratory tract infection are up-regulated by respiratory tract infection and continue to stimulate even after the virus has disappeared.
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