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  • decodeMR Team

Chronic Cough: Strategies for a Cough That Won't Quit: Q & A session with an expert

Episode summary

Welcome back to another episode of the Inline - decodeMR's podcast! 


In this episode, we talk about chronic cough, which lasts for more than eight weeks. Joining us is Dr. Abhishek Udaykumar, a renowned pulmonologist from East Point College of Medical Sciences and Research Center, India. 

Chronic cough is not just a minor inconvenience; it can lead to serious complications like esophageal rupture and can increase intra-abdominal pressure. Dr. Udaykumar offers valuable insights into recognizing and addressing these underlying issues. He also guides us through the diagnostic process and the complexities of distinguishing between environmental triggers and underlying health concerns. He highlights the importance of a thorough evaluation in uncovering the root causes of chronic cough, empowering individuals to take proactive steps towards better health. 

As we navigate the landscape of chronic cough, Dr. Udaykumar offers practical advice on lifestyle modifications and home remedies that individuals can explore before seeking medical intervention. From allergen avoidance to managing Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), Dr. Udaykumar provides actionable strategies for mitigating symptoms and improving quality of life. Looking towards the future, Dr. Udaykumar underlines promising avenues for research, including advanced allergy testing and personalized treatment approaches. 

Towards the end, he discussed the importance of seeking timely medical attention for persistent cough symptoms, urging listeners to prioritize their health and well-being.  

Episode notes

  1. Understanding Chronic Cough: (2:32) 

  • Dr. Kumar explores the diverse range of factors contributing to chronic cough, including post-nasal drip, asthma, bronchitis, and GERD. 

  • He highlights the complexities of diagnosing chronic cough and the importance of a systematic approach to evaluation. 

  • Chronic cough can have significant implications, ranging from physical complications like esophageal rupture to psychological distress. Dr. Kumar underscores the importance of addressing these aspects in patient care. 

2. Diagnostic Challenges and Approaches:(4:22) 

  • Dr. Kumar discusses the diagnostic challenges in identifying the underlying cause of chronic cough and outlines the key steps involved in the diagnostic process. 

  • He explains the role of history-taking, physical examination, and relevant investigations such as chest X-ray and pulmonary function tests in arriving at an accurate diagnosis. 

3. Management Strategies:(7:22)


  • From lifestyle modifications to pharmacological interventions and specialist referrals, Dr. Udaykumar provides practical strategies for managing chronic cough tailored to patient needs. 

  • Avoiding known allergens, reducing dust exposure, avoiding heavy meals before bedtime, and not using air conditioning are some recommended measures.  

  • He also suggests various management strategies during seasonal changes or heightened environmental allergens. Using masks, avoiding woolen blankets and long-haired pets, and regular allergen testing can help mitigate symptoms. 

4. Future Research Directions:(11:48) 

  • Looking ahead, Dr. Udaykumar explores promising avenues for future research, including advancements in allergy testing, personalized treatment approaches, and understanding the underlying mechanisms of chronic cough. 

5. Advice for Patients with Persistent Cough: (13:43) 

  • Dr. Kumar advises patients with persistent cough to make lifestyle modifications as a first step, and they should consult a pulmonologist or a general physician for a thorough evaluation.  

  • Over-the-counter drugs are not recommended for the long-term treatment without professional advice. 

Take Home Messages: 

  • Chronic cough requires comprehensive evaluation and management tailored to the underlying cause. 

  • Lifestyle modifications, allergen avoidance, and medication use play pivotal roles in managing chronic cough effectively. 

  • Timely medical evaluation is crucial to rule out serious underlying conditions and prevent complications associated with chronic cough.

  • Ongoing research efforts hold promise for advancing our understanding and treatment options for chronic cough, paving the way for improved patient outcomes. 

About Dr. Abhishek Udaykumar

Dr. Abhishek Udaykumar is a pulmonologist at East Point College of Medical Sciences and Research Centre. 

Relevant links: 


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