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Winter cough warning

23rd November 2010

The Royal Pharmaceutical Society of Great Britain has asked pharmacists to identify patients with persistent coughs and encourage them to visit their doctors.

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Experts said a winter cough which did not go away could be the first indicator of more serious problems.

A chronic cough can be the sign of lung cancer or chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (CPOD).

The results of research by the Roy Castle Lung Cancer Foundation found that only one third of people linked a persistent cough with lung cancer.

Only one in 10 people of the 30,000 diagnosed with lung cancer in the UK every year survive the disease for longer than five years.

Many people in the UK catch chest infections when the weather turns cold, which usually get better after a couple of weeks.

The society said a cough which lasted for longer than three weeks, in addition to tiredness or breathlessness, should be a sign that a person needed to visit their doctor.

Graham Phillips, a member of the society's board, said: "Many people will repeatedly buy cough medicines or maybe iron tablets for tiredness and a lack of energy."

"If you can't seem to shake off symptoms that seem similar to colds and flu, such as a persistent cough or chest infection, or if you keep losing your voice, feel breathless or tired and lacking in energy, then ask your pharmacist for advice instead of buying an over-the-counter medicine or picking something up in the supermarket," he added.

 

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