What Is a Staccato Cough?

Cough that is accompanied by a fever should be treated by a doctor.
Taking a hot shower may help to alleviate effects of a cough.
Staccato coughs are sudden and brief.
Staccato coughs can be treated like any other cough, using over-the-counter cough medicines.
The specific type of cough that a child is suffering matters greatly.
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  • Written By: Danny Djeljosevic
  • Edited By: Jenn Walker
  • Last Modified Date: 30 September 2014
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The term staccato cough describes a type of cough that erupts in short, sudden bursts. This type of cough is commonly associated with chlamydia pneumonia, but can also be symptomatic of whooping cough and other respiratory infections. Staccato coughs can be treated like any other cough with over-the-counter cough medicines, but any cough lasting more than a couple of days or one that presents with other symptoms, such as a fever, should be treated by a physician.

Like any cough, the staccato cough is an involuntary physical reflex using air to clear the lungs and throat of any obstruction, but different types of coughs present in different manners. The term “staccato” comes from music and refers to notes played separately so they’re seemingly unconnected. The separation between coughs distinguishes a staccato cough from other types of coughs, such as a barky cough that usually results from an inflamed larynx, a wheezy cough that often indicates asthma, or a paroxysmal cough that often is symptomatic of pertussis or bronchiolitis.

While coughs are often a sign of illness, the type of cough can help a physician narrow a diagnosis. This is especially true when it comes to pediatrics. In children the specific type of cough the child is suffering matters greatly. This is because both causes and treatments for adult coughs are different from those of children. Additionally, a staccato cough can indicate one kind of disease that a barking cough doesn't.


A staccato cough can suggest such illnesses as whooping cough, infant chlamydia, pneumonia or a respiratory tract infection, among other afflictions. That said, a physician would also need to determine any other symptoms present, such as fever, runny nose, and phlegm. Doctors also take into consideration whether the cough is dry or wet in order to further narrow it down and accurately diagnose an illness. Anyone suffering from a staccato cough, especially when accompanied by other apparent symptoms, should be examined by a physician for a proper diagnosis and treatment.

To help alleviate the effects of a cough at home, it is recommended that a person drink fluids, such as water and non-acidic juice. Hot showers, using a humidifier, or taking a cough suppressant may help as well. Over-the-counter cough medicine may also be a potential option to treat the cough, but some people — especially parents of children with staccato cough — may want to take advice from a doctor for the best medicine recommendations.


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Post 2

Doesn't it drive you crazy when you can't sleep at night because you can't stop coughing? What can you do about it?

There are some home remedies for coughs that are supposed to work pretty well.

Grapes can help get rid of a cough. Try grape juice with some honey. Turmeric, which has been roasted and pounded into a powder works well with a dry cough.The juice of a few basil leaves and honey can lesson the whooping cough.

Prescribed cough syrup can work well also, but can have side effects. Just remember, coughs are not a disease, but are nature's way of clearing the lungs and bronchial tubes of germs and phlegm.

Post 1

Never heard of a staccato cough. I've heard the whooping cough. It sounds like the sick person really needs air in their lungs. But I've never heard it called a staccato cough.

My granddaughter has asthma, and I recognize that cough very well. My daughter had pneumonia and afterwards, whenever she has a cold, her cough is loud and vibrating. The doctor said the pneumonia caused a change in her bronchial tubes. So, the tubes vibrate when she coughs.

If you listen to the different kinds of coughs and other symptoms, you will learn when to go to the doctor.

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