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Night cough Assessment Questionnaire

Questions Your Doctor May Ask - and Why!

During a consultation, your doctor will use various techniques to assess the symptom: Night 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 night cough?

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

  2. Describe the variation in the cough throughout the day?

    Why: e.g. cough at night or worse at night may suggest asthma, left ventricular failure, postnasal drip, chronic bronchitis, whooping cough; whereas cough worse on waking suggests bronchiectasis, chronic bronchitis or gastro-esophageal reflux.

  3. How would you describe the cough?

    Why: e.g. paroxysmal with whoops suggest whooping cough.

  4. Past medical history?

    Why: hay fever and eczema makes the chance of asthma more likely; heart attack, high blood pressure and rheumatic heart disease increase the risk of left ventricular heart failure.

  5. Family history?

    Why: e.g. asthma; anyone in the family had recent whooping cough.

  6. Cigarette smoking

    Why: past and present? - increases the risk of chronic bronchitis which causes a cough which is worse at night.

  7. Immunisations?

    Why: e.g. pertussis immunization for whooping cough.

  8. Sputum production?

    Why: If there is sputum production, describe it? - e.g. yellow-green thick and sticky may suggest asthma; pink and frothy may suggest left ventricular failure with pulmonary edema.

  9. Blood in sputum?

    Why: may suggest chronic bronchitis or left ventricular failure.

  10. Wheeze?

    Why: usually suggests asthma but may also be chronic bronchitis or left ventricular heart failure.

  11. If you have had a wheeze, have you had previous attacks of wheezing, hay fever or eczema?

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

  12. Shortness of breath?

    Why: In acute cases may suggest acute left ventricular heart failure. In chronic cases may suggest asthma or chronic left ventricular heart failure.

  13. Stridor?

    Why: may suggest whooping cough.

  14. Fever?

    Why: may suggest whooping cough.

  15. Paroxysmal nocturnal dyspnea (inappropriate severe breathlessness causing waking from sleep)?

    Why: suggests left ventricular failure.

  16. Orthopnea (breathlessness lying down flat)?

    Why: suggests left ventricular heart failure.

  17. Symptoms of whooping cough?

    Why: e.g. fever, loss of appetite, runny nose, red eyes, paroxysms of severe coughing with inspiratory whoops. May have vomiting at the end of the coughing bout. Cough is worse at night.

  18. Symptoms of asthma?

    Why: e.g. intermittent wheeze, shortness of breath, chest tightness and cough (especially at night). Night cough may be the only symptom.

  19. Symptoms of left ventricular heart failure?

    Why: e.g. shortness of breath on exertion, orthopnea (breathlessness lying down flat), paroxysmal nocturnal dyspnea (inappropriate severe breathlessness causing waking from sleep.

  20. Symptoms of postnasal drip?

    Why: e.g. offensive postnasal mucous, may have bad breath, nasal obstruction and a night cough. Associated with symptoms of sinusitis including facial pain and tenderness.

  21. Symptoms of chronic bronchitis?

    Why: e.g. cough with sputum on most days for atleast three months of the year for atleast two consecutive years. May also have an audible wheeze.

Conditions listing medical symptoms: Night cough:

The following list of conditions have 'Night 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 Night cough or choose View All.


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