The old euphemism, “It’s not the cough that will carry you off,” mostly rings true, but the cough is still one of the leading reasons to head to a doctor, according to the 2010 National Ambulatory Medical Care Survey (NAMCS) conducted by NCHS. A cough is also one of the top reasons why people visit hospital outpatient departments, according to another NCHS health care survey, the National Hospital Ambulatory Medical Care Survey (see Table 7 here).
NCHS data show that the cough is the most common symptom that makes Americans visit the doctor’s office (only “progress visits” and “general medical examinations” rank higher on the list of 20 principal reasons for visiting a physician’s office, according to Table 9 of the 2010 NAMCS Summary Tables).
NCHS’s parent agency, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, advises that covering your cough can make a huge difference in stopping the spread of germs this — or any — flu season. Not to mention – it’s the polite thing to do!