A post-viral cough is a lingering cough that follows a viral respiratory tract infection, such as a common cold or flu, and lasting up to eight weeks. Post-viral cough is a clinically recognized condition represented within the European medical literature. Patients usually experience repeated episodes of post-viral cough. The heightened sensitivity in the respiratory tract is demonstrated by inhalation cough challenge.
One possible cause for post-viral cough 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 after the virus has disappeared.
Post-viral cough can be resistant to treatment. Post-viral cough usually goes away on its own; however, cough suppressants containing codeine may be prescribed. One study has claimed dark chocolate is more effective. Inhaled steroids may work in some patients. Running or increased cardiovascular activity can help clear the respiratory tract. Often the cause is post-nasal drip, and so nasal steroids or pseudoephedrine might also be helpful.
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- International Society for the Study of Cough
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