Updated 04 September 2017

Is cough a common condition?

Without doubt, yes!

It is estimated that there were conservatively 48 million cases of acute cough per year in the UK with close to R700 million being spent on over the counter medication. These acute episodes of cough resulted in some 12 million consultations with doctors in a single year! So clearly you are not alone.  

More than just the financial cost, a cough can be debilitating, robbing people of the simplest things…such as sleep. Something, which you take for granted, now becomes like gold…when you are woken up 10 to 20 times in a night with coughing fits. The impact of cough on the quality of a patient’s life can never be underestimated. In fact numerous questionnaires such as the Leicester Cough Questionnaire have been devised to assess the impact of a chronic cough on a patient’s quality of life.

Compiled February 2011 by Dr. Greg Symons [MB. ChB, DipPEC, FCP (SA), Cert. Pulm. (SA)], Consultant Pulmonologist, Division of Pulmonology, Department of Medicine, Groote Schuur Hospital & Clinical Researcher, UCT Lung Institute (Pty) Ltd in George Street, Mowbray. Contact the UCT Lung Institute on ph 021 406 6850.  


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Professor Keertan Dheda has received several prestigious awards including the 2014 Oppenheimer Award, and has published over 160 peer-reviewed papers and holds 3 patents related to new TB diagnostic or infection control technologies. He serves on the editorial board of the journals PLoS One, the International Journal of Tuberculosis and Lung Disease, American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Medicine, Lancet Respiratory Diseases and Nature Scientific Reports, amongst others. Read his full biography at the University of Cape Town Lung Institute.

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