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We thank Merck for their sponsorship of this message. This sponsored message is not an endorsement of any company or its products, nor is it a guarantee of any product's safety. The funding we received for this sponsorship helps support our free asthma and allergy programs.

Coughing is normally a reflex your body uses to protect your airway when it’s irritated from things like excessive mucus, harmful irritants, or other substances you breathe in. In some people, that reflex may become disordered, leading to a persistent cough. When a cough lasts longer than eight weeks, it’s considered chronic.

“I limit where I go in public and try to get in and out of stores as fast as I can to avoid having a coughing bout in public,” says Candis S., who has been living with chronic cough for more than a decade.

Candis, who deals with chronic cough, poses for a picture in the desertAn estimated 12 million adults in the U.S. live with chronic cough. Although both men and women can have the condition, it’s more common in women in their 50s. Chronic cough can have a physical, social, and emotional impact on people with the condition, sometimes leading to embarrassment or frustration.

Candis explains how chronic cough impacts her life and interferes with some of her daily activities. “If I’m in line at a store and feel a coughing bout coming on, I’ll leave my things in the store, go to the car to cough, and come back 20 minutes later to finish checking out,” she says.

“I’ve had to adjust my life to accommodate my constant coughing and am careful to not let my cough disrupt other people’s lives.” Candis also shares that she no longer travels by plane and avoids attending concerts, movies and weddings, when possible.

Despite the frustrations of living with chronic cough, Candis is grateful for the support from her friends and family. She encourages others living with chronic cough to try to stay optimistic and not allow the condition to control their life. “It’s easy to just stay inside, and become depressed, but you have to keep going on with your life. It’s easier said than done, but it’s what I’ve had to do,” she says.

Resources to Help Navigate Chronic Cough

For people living with a persistent cough, it may be hard to explain to your health care provider how often or bad your cough is and how it affects your daily life. CoughTracker, a free healthy living app, is available to track and record how often you cough, which may help you uncover potential patterns or triggers of your cough. It can also help you have a productive conversation with your doctor about your cough.

For more information about chronic cough and to download CoughTracker, visit The Cough Chronicles, an educational resource sponsored by Merck in collaboration with AAFA, the American Lung Association, and the Allergy & Asthma Network to support people living with the condition.


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  • Candis, who deals with chronic cough, poses for a picture in the desert: Candis, who deals with chronic cough, poses for a picture in the desert
Tags: Cough, Asthma

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