COVID-19 Not Creating Lingering Chronic Cough Impacts, Dr Peter Dicpinigaitis Says

Peter Dicpinigaitis, MD, professor of medicine at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine and director of the Montefiore Cough Center, discusses what he and others have seen during the pandemic in patients with chronic cough who had COVID-19.

Peter Dicpinigaitis, MD, professor of medicine at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine and director of the Montefiore Cough Center, discusses what he and others have seen during the pandemic in patients with chronic cough who had COVID-19.

Transcript

Has COVID-19 impacted the cough field? Are more patients presenting with cough or does the virus exacerbate it?

The COVID question is a fascinating one. I work mainly in intensive care units. So I was on the front lines in the very beginning in the spring of 2020. And way back then, those of us that deal with cough a lot, were wondering whether there was going to be a post-COVID chronic cough, because those of us who see chronic cough patients in general, we see a lot of chronic cough that began with a typical viral upper respiratory tract infection or common cold, that's very common, that you know, somebody has a cold, they're sick for 3 or 4 days, the cold goes away, but a cough can linger for weeks, months or years. So we see post-viral cough all the time. So the question was, well, will COVID-19 be similar to that, less of a problem, or a problem? Interestingly, in retrospect, now that we have enough time behind us to look at what the symptoms are in patients who were sick with COVID, especially those serious enough to be hospitalized. Interestingly, post-COVID cough does not seem to be a major issue. About 1 in 6 patients who are seen in clinics after hospitalization out to severe illness complain of have some degree of cough, usually not severe. Interestingly, it's much more common for these patients to complain of shortness of breath, chest tightness and fatigue than chronic cough. So yes, the chronic coughers are out there, but thankfully, COVID-19 seems to not be a virus that specifically induced a lot of severe prolonged cough.