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What can cause a cough?

Gerard W. Frank, MD
Pulmonary Disease
Coughing can be caused by many conditions, including the following:
  • cold
  • flu
  • postnasal drip
  • pneumonia
  • bronchitis
  • allergies
  • asthma
  • irritation from smoking
  • sinus conditions
  • acid reflux (GERD)
  • cancer
  • tuberculosis
  • aspiration (particularly in people who have had a stroke)
Coughing is also a possible side effect of many medications.
Coughs can be caused by infection or anything that causes irritation in the airway.

Common causes of a cough are:
  • infections from viruses, bacteria and fungi
  • allergies
  • coming into contact with smoke or fumes
  • asthma
  • acid reflux

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.