Preparing for your appointment

While you may initially see your family doctor, he or she may refer you to a doctor who specializes in lung disorders (pulmonologist).

What you can do

It's a good idea to write a list that includes:

  • Detailed descriptions of your symptoms
  • Information about medical problems you've had
  • Information about the medical problems of your parents or siblings
  • All the medications, including over-the-counter drugs, and dietary supplements you take
  • Questions you want to ask the doctor

What to expect from your doctor

A thorough medical history and physical exam can provide important clues about a chronic cough. Your doctor may ask some of the following questions:

  • What are your symptoms and when did they begin?
  • Did you recently have the flu or a cold?
  • Do you now or have you ever smoked tobacco?
  • Does anyone in your family or workplace smoke?
  • Are you exposed to dust or chemicals at home or at work?
  • Do you have heartburn?
  • Do you cough up anything? If so, what does it look like?
  • Do you take blood pressure medicine? If so, what type do you take?
  • When does your cough occur?
  • Does anything relieve your cough? What treatments have you tried?
  • Do you get more short of breath with exertion? Or on exposure to cold air?
  • What is your travel history?