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Science
CHECK UP
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PROGRAMME INFO
Thursday 15:00-15:30
Check Up is your chance to talk to doctors about the health issues that most concern you and your family. Each week Barbara Myers is joined by a medical expert to take your calls and emails on a particular topic and give you the most up to date advice. No appointment necessary.
Call 0870 010 0444
Email checkup@bbc.co.uk
LISTEN AGAINListen 30 min
Listen to 12 September
PRESENTER
BARBARA MYERS
Barbara Myers
PROGRAMME DETAILS
Thursday 12 September 2002
Cough

Coughing

In the first programme of the new series, Barbara will waiting to put you through to cough expert Alyn Morice. Coughing is a vital part of the body's defence mechanism. This blast of high-speed air, which drives out dirt or excessive mucus, can be caused by breathing in dust particles or by a piece of food going down the wrong way. Because the commonest causes of chronic coughing straddle a number of medical disciplines, an exact cause can sometimes be difficult to pinpoint.

Perhaps the commonest cause of cough is an unusual form of asthma which results in coughing instead of wheezing. The next is reflux, due to a spasm in the gullet and the third is the very common and none too pleasant post nasal drip. Coughing can also be a sign of a chest infection - or rarely of acute heart failure. You might be surprised to hear that if you have a chronic cough caused by smoking, giving up the cigarettes will ease the symptoms in 94% of smokers within a month. Some parents swear by inhaling steam to help to ease the barking sound of a baby with croup - but how scientific is that approach? And how much evidence is there that cough mixtures which you can buy over the counter actually work?
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