Table 1

Clinical characteristics of habit cough

Loud and repetitive (softer throat clearing variant in some)
Absent once asleep (sine qua non)
Mainly in children and adolescents
Affects both sexes
Duration ranges from weeks to many months
No consistent response to bronchodilators, steroids, antibiotics or antitussive medications
Multiple unscheduled visits for medical care and even hospitalisation are common
Normal physical examination other than cough; associated tics are rarely present
All clinical testing is otherwise normal
Initial respiratory illness such as a viral respiratory infection (common cold) is common
Commonly misdiagnosed as asthma
School is often missed because of cough
Secondary gain or school phobia is uncommonly associated