Diurnal and seasonal variation of cough episodes in healthy young adults

Yaniv Zigel, Aviv Goldbart, Tamar Freud, Ahmad Erew, Marwan Abu Leil, Yaniv Tocker, Ilan Levi, Jacob Urkin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations


Setting: We developed an algorithm to assess recorded cough episodes and differentiate them from similar, non-cough sounds. Objective: To measure cough episodes in healthy young adults, cigarette smokers and non-smokers over a 24-hour recording period, during the course of normal activity. Design: The study subjects were students, aged 20-40 years old. 24-hour sound recordings were conducted by a portable recorder. Analysis used an algorithm that was developed and tested in the study. Results: Seventy students were recruited. Recordings included 2628 cough episodes in 1704 h of recording. The cough detection algorithm successfully detected 88.5% of recorded cough episodes and 95.6% of non-cough sounds. There was a clear tendency for more coughs among smokers. Autumn was the season with the highest mean cough episodes per day (58.65), while summer had the lowest (14.19). There was a strong correlation between self-reported cough episodes and recorded coughs. Cough episodes were significantly more frequent between noon and midnight (p < 0.0001). Conclusion: There is a very large range in daily coughs among healthy young adults. During sleeping hours there are less cough episodes. In autumn and spring there are more cough episodes compared to summer and winter, probably secondary to environmental factors. In smokers, the coughing rate is relatively high. If the cough detection device will be able to discriminate between cough variants (i.e. healthy versus patient), and stringent validation will confirm sensitivity and specificity, valuable data from this device may ease the decision regarding medications, or any other changes in order to improve outcome.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)295-300
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Asthma
Issue number3
StatePublished - 15 Mar 2016


  • Cough
  • cough recording
  • healthy population
  • monitoring
  • temporal variation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
  • Immunology and Allergy
  • Pulmonary and Respiratory Medicine


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