Cough is a reflex action of the respiratory tract that is used to clear the upper airways.1 In contrast, chronic cough is a cough that remains unexplained after basic clinical assessment.2
Chronic cough is a cough which lasts for more than three weeks and is a common reason for referral to secondary care.2
What causes chronic cough in infants?
Chronic cough in infants can be related to several environmental or pathogenic triggers.1 Environmental factors include exposure to cigarette smoke and exposure to environmental pollution.1 Diseases that cause chronic cough include respiratory tract infections, asthma, bronchitis, gastro-oesophageal reflux disease, croup or whooping cough.
Chronic cough as a symptom of Cows' Milk Allergy
Up to 30% of infants with Cows' Milk Allergy (CMA) will present with a respiratory symptom such as chronic cough.4 CMA can be suspected in infants who display immediate symptoms of cough following the ingestion of cow’s milk protein.5,6
The majority of infants affected with CMA have at least two symptoms affecting at least two different organ systems.7,8 If you suspect non-IgE mediated CMA, you can use the CoMiSS® tool11 to score the combination of their symptoms and assess the likelihood of CMA.
Other signs and symptoms related to CMA6,9,10
· Gastrointestinal/Digestive: Vomiting, reflux, regurgitation, anorexia, diarrhoea, constipation, abdominal pain, blood in stools
· Respiratory: Chronic cough, sneezing, wheezing, shortness of breath, runny nose
· Skin: Rash, atopic dermatitis, urticaria, angioedema
· General: Failure to thrive, anaphylaxis, insomnia, inconsolable crying, pallor and tiredness