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Did you know that coughing is one of the most common reasons people visit a doctor’s office? Dr. Warner Carr, a board-certified allergist and immunologist, sees hundreds of patients each year with respiratory conditions, including chronic cough, a cough lasting longer than eight weeks that affects approximately 12 million adults in the U.S.
People with chronic cough commonly cough in “bouts” they cannot control, and usually feel a strong urge to cough or a tickle in their throat before a coughing bout starts. Chronic cough typically affects women in their 50s, but both women and men can have the condition.
“In my experience, helping people with chronic cough is both rewarding and at times, frustrating. It’s rewarding when I hear that I’ve helped validate the condition and experiences of my patients, but frustrating because I know the long journey some patients are on before they receive a diagnosis,” Dr. Carr says.
Chronic cough can have a physical, social and emotional impact on those affected, as many people may feel embarrassed or frustrated about their cough in social settings. In fact, people living with the condition have told Dr. Carr that it can interrupt daily activities, like simply talking.
Some of his patients have also expressed that people don’t understand the condition and have even told them to “just stop coughing.” Dr. Carr explains, “It’s important that there’s increased awareness around chronic cough so people understand it’s a real medical condition and that those with chronic cough can’t control their coughing.”
When asked for advice, Dr. Carr emphasizes the importance of people speaking with their health care provider about their cough symptoms, even if they’ve grown used to coughing. “I definitely understand their frustration and sympathize with what they are going through. Managing their expectations and instilling hope in my patients is also important because they are eager for answers.”
To help you have a productive conversation with your health care provider about your cough and its frequency, download CoughTracker, a free and easy-to-use, healthy living app that helps track and record the number of times you cough. When used daily, the app can provide you with details about potential patterns and possible triggers of your cough, which you may not have noticed before.
To download CoughTracker and hear more from Dr. Carr about chronic cough, visit TheCoughChronicles.com.