Patients with a chronic cough are being advised to have a chest x-ray and a thorough investigation to check for underlying diseases, according to new recommendations.
Coughing is the most common reason for Australians to see a doctor, with 8.8 per cent of the population estimated to have a chronic cough, prompting the new advice from the Medical Journal of Australia (MJA).
A chronic cough is defined by the MJA as a cough lasting more than two months in adults and over a month in children.
”Chronic cough results in significant health care costs, impairs quality of life and may indicate the presence of a serious underlying condition,” associate professor Julie Marchant said.
The condition is estimated to occur in three per cent of people who have never smoked and eight per cent of people who currently smoke.
About 13 per cent of children in Indigenous communities are living with a wet cough.
“First Nations Australians are disproportionately affected by conditions that present with chronic wet cough, such as protracted bacterial bronchitis and bronchiectasis,” Marchant said.
“The mortality difference between First Nations and non-First Nations Australians with bronchiectasis is about 22 years.”
For more information you can read the study’s findings here.