Definition A popular term for a dry cough occurring in individuals affected by Hurricane Sandy, which was more common in the days and weeks following the receding tidal surge and impacted in particular on the residents of Far Rockaway, Queens (Queens is one of New York’s five boroughs). The cough was attributed to a combination of mechanical irritation of the upper airways, when homeowners and workers pulled out dry wall (sheetrock) and insulation, and allergic responses to mycotoxins produced by black mould (Stachybotrys chatarum), which thrives in moist environments.
Clinical findings Dry cough, nasal congestion, eye irritation, fever, wheezing, shortness of breath, exacerbation of asthma.
Prevention Exposure to dust and mould can be markedly reduced with an N95 respirator.
Synonyms Far Rockaway cough, Katrina cough, Sandy cough, Hurricane Sandy cough