Richard Rathe, MD

Associate Professor of Family Medicine (ret.) and Medical Informatician

Approach to Cough Algorithm and Podcast

By •• Posted in Medicine, Podcast

I recently updated my lecture on cough, given to third-year medical students and residents. It presents an algorithm I developed based on the omnibus supplement published in the journal Chest and other sources. Here is a quick summary of key points that are often missed  by primary care physicians…

  1. Acute cough is largely due to viral infections and therefore antibiotics are NOT indicated.
  2. There is growing evidence that first generation antihistamines are the drugs of choice for undifferentiated acute cough.
  3. Post-infectious cough is the most common etiology for cough lasting between 3-8 weeks.
  4. Secondary causes of cough (reactive airways, GERD, post-nasal drip) should be considered based on symptoms and time course.
  5. In areas of high TB prevalence consider testing for active disease in any patient with a cough lasting more than two weeks (WHO recommendation).

I concise version of the lecture is available as a podcast.

The lecture handout is available in PDF format.


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