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Ned Tijdschr Geneeskd. 2004 Apr 10;148(15):725-8.

[Summary of the practice guideline 'Acute cough' from the Dutch College of General Practitioners].

[Article in Dutch]

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  • 1Nederlands Huisartsen Genootschap, afd. Richtljinontwikkeling en Wetenschapsbeleid, Postbus 3231, 3502 GE Utrecht.


In most cases acute cough has an infectious, often viral, cause. When the coughing lasts longer than 3 weeks, the diagnosis has to be reconsidered. The effectiveness of cough medicines has not been proven. For the management of acute cough it is important to distinguish between non-serious and serious lower respiratory tract infections. A serious lower respiratory tract infection is: a lower respiratory tract infection with a higher risk of a complicated course: when pneumonia is suspected, in infants and the elderly, and in patients with relevant co-morbidity. The prescription of antibiotics for acute cough is not useful in the majority of the patients; antimicrobial therapy can be indicated, but only in the case of lower respiratory tract infections with a higher risk of a complicated course. Specific management has to be considered in the case of: whooping cough, bronchiolitis and croup. In the case of pneumonia, antimicrobial therapy is indicated; follow-up is necessary. In the case of moderate to severe croup, a single dose of corticosteroids is recommended.

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