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Cough is a type of natural, protective reflex action, which can discharge secretions and foreign items from the respiratory tract. However, it may also be the first symptom of respiratory diseases.           

What is chronic cough? A cough that lasts more than three weeks is called a chronic cough. 
There are many causes for chronic cough. Recognizing the different characteristics of coughs is helpful for diagnosis, so if you suspect that you may have a chronic cough, pay attention to the following aspects:

·         * When did you start coughing?

·         * Is the coughing heavier during the day or at night?

·         * Is there phlegm or sputum combined with cough?

·         * What is the character and color of sputum?

·         * What other symptoms you have in addition to the cough?           

* If person with a chronic cough is otherwise healthy, the cause of coughing is often in chronic inflammation of nose, pharynx and throat.
* Daytime dry cough related to emotional responses should be considered as a psychogenic cough.
* With diseases like tuberculosis or a malignant tumor, chronic cough is often accompanied with progressive emaciation.
* Lung abscess is often seen in patients who repeatedly cough up a large amount of sputum.
* Dry cough may also be induced by the intake of certain drugs, such as ACE inhibitors used for blood hypertension.
* Chronic cough with chest pain is common in lung lesions.
* Coughing that occurs suddenly when lying on one's back, accompanied with sour taste in the mouth, often indicates the possibility of gastroesophageal reflux.
Careful collection of medical history and physical examination are important for the diagnosis of most types of cough.