Prevalence, progression and impact of chronic cough on employment in Northern Europe

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  • Henrik Johansson, Uppsala University and Uppsala Clinical Research Center, Uppsala University, Sweden., Sweden
  • Ane Johannessen, Centre for International Health, Department of Global Public Health and Primary Care, University of Bergen, Bergen, Norway
  • Mathias Holm, Occupational and Environmental Medicine, School of Public Health and Community Medicine, Institute of Medicine, Sahlgrenska Academy, University of Gothenburg, Sweden
  • Bertil Forsberg, Section of Sustainable Medicine, Department of Public Health and Clinical Medicine, Umeå University, Umeå, Sweden
  • Vivi Schlünssen
  • Rain Jõgi, Lung Clinic, Tartu University Hospital, Tartu, Estonia., Estonia
  • Michael Clausen, Reykjavik University, Reykjavik, Iceland, Iceland
  • Eva Lindberg, Uppsala University and Uppsala Clinical Research Center, Uppsala University, Sweden., Sweden
  • Andrei Malinovschi, Uppsala University and Uppsala Clinical Research Center, Uppsala University, Sweden., Sweden
  • Össur Ingi Emilsson, Uppsala University and Uppsala Clinical Research Center, Uppsala University, Sweden., Reykjavik University, Reykjavik, Iceland, Sweden

We investigated the prevalence of chronic cough, and its association with work ability and sick leave in the general population.Data were analysed from the Respiratory Health in Northern Europe (RHINE) III cohort (n=13 500), of which 11 252 had also participated in the RHINE II 10 years earlier, a multi-centre study in Northern Europe. Participants answered a questionnaire on chronic cough, employment factors, smoking, and respiratory comorbidities.Non-productive chronic cough was found in 7% and productive chronic cough in 9% of the participants. Participants with non-productive cough were more often female, and participants with productive cough were more often smokers and had a higher BMI than those without cough. Participants with chronic cough more often reported >7 days of sick leave in the preceding year than those without cough ("non-productive cough" 21%; "productive cough" 24%; p<0.001 for comparisons with "no cough" 13%). This pattern was consistent after adjusting for age, gender, BMI, education level, smoking status, and comorbidities. Participants with chronic cough at baseline reported lower work ability and more often had >7 days of sick leave at follow-up than those without cough. These associations remained significant after adjusting for cough at follow-up and other confounding factors.Chronic cough was found in around one in six participants and was associated with more sick leave. Chronic cough 10 years earlier was associated with lower work ability and sick leave at follow-up. These associations were not explained by studied comorbidities. This indication of negative effects on employment from chronic cough needs to be recognised.

Original languageEnglish
Book seriesEuropean Respiratory Journal. Supplement
Number of pages20
ISSN0904-1850
DOIs
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 10 Dec 2020

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