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Dry cough Assessment Questionnaire

Questions Your Doctor May Ask - and Why!

During a consultation, your doctor will use various techniques to assess the symptom: Dry cough. These will include a physical examination and possibly diagnostic tests. (Note: A physical exam is always done, diagnostic tests may or may not be performed depending on the suspected condition) Your doctor will ask several questions when assessing your condition. It is important to openly share any pertinent information to help your doctor make an accurate diagnosis.

It is also very important to bring an up-to-date list of all of your all medical conditions, medications including dosages, and names of numbers of any specialist you see.

Create your printable checklist by answering questions that your doctor may ask below:

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  1. How long have you had the dry cough?

    Why: to establish if acute or chronic i.e. chronic cough is a cough that has been present and not improving for more than 4 weeks.

  2. Is the cough truly dry?

    Why: a dry cough is a non-productive cough without producing sputum. Many respiratory infections start out as a dry cough, and then become a wet_cough or productive cough as the lungs start to produce more sputum. Some types of chronic_cough or severe_cough may remain a dry cough, or become a persistent dry cough.

  3. How would you describe the cough?

    Why: e.g. paroxysmal with whoops suggest whooping cough, painful cough may suggest left ventricular heart failure, weak cough may suggest lung cancer, bovine (no power to cough) suggests vocal cord paralysis.

  4. What time of the day is the cough worse?

    Why: e.g. cough at night may suggest asthma, left ventricular failure, postnasal drip, whooping cough; cough on waking may suggest gastro-esophageal reflux.

  5. Is the cough related to meals?

    Why: e.g. esophageal diverticulum, tracheo-esophageal fistula.

  6. Past medical history?

    Why: Left ventricular failure may be due to heart attack, cardiomyopathy, hypertension, valvular heart disease secondary to previous rheumatic fever.

  7. Medications?

    Why: e.g. ACE inhibitor blood pressure medications are well known to cause a cough.

  8. Family history?

    Why: e.g. asthma; anyone in family had a recent acute dry cough (may suggest a contagious source).

  9. Cigarette smoking

    Why: past and present? - increases the risk of emphysema, chronic bronchitis, lung cancer, larynx cancer.

  10. Are you exposed to any smoke or fumes?

    Why: pollutant irritation may cause dry cough.

  11. Occupational history?

    Why: e.g. exposure to asbestos; miners exposure to coal dust or silica; aircraft makers and shipbuilders exposure to berylliosis and asbestosis; farmers exposure to bacteria in hay and causing "farmer's lung"; pigeon breeders exposed to protein from bird feathers and excreta causing "bird fancier's lung".

  12. Wheeze?- usually suggests asthma but may also be foreign body, lung cancer, congestive heart failure
  13. If has had a wheeze, have you had previous attacks of wheezing, hay fever or eczema?

    Why: more likely to suggest asthma as cause of dry cough.

  14. Shortness of breath?

    Why: may suggest asthma, pulmonary fibrosis, left ventricular failure and lung cancer.

  15. Burning sensation in throat or chest when you cough?

    Why: may suggest gastro-esophageal reflux as cause of chronic cough.

  16. Weight loss?

    Why: may suggest lung cancer, laryngeal cancer.

  17. Swelling of the legs?

    Why: may suggest left ventricular heart failure.

  18. Stridor?

    Why: may suggest whooping cough, foreign body, cancer of the larynx, cancer of the trachea.

  19. Fever?

    Why: may suggest upper respiratory tract infection, influenza, pneumonia, croup, measles, whooping cough, Legionaire's disease, Lassa fever, bronchiolitis.

Conditions listing medical symptoms: Dry cough:

The following list of conditions have 'Dry cough' or similar listed as a symptom in our database. This computer-generated list may be inaccurate or incomplete. Always seek prompt professional medical advice about the cause of any symptom.

Select from the following alphabetical view of conditions which include a symptom of Dry cough or choose View All.

View All A B C D E F G H I K L M N O P Q R S T U V W

Conditions listing medical complications: Dry cough:

The following list of medical conditions have 'Dry cough' or similar listed as a medical complication in our database.


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