Rockaway cough

Rockaway cough

A popular term for the dry cough that occurred in individuals of the northeastern US affected by Hurricane Sandy in 2012, which was more common in the days and weeks that followed the receding tidal surge, and impacted in particular the residents of Far Rockaway, Queens, one of the New York City’s five boroughs. The cough was due to a combination of mechanical irritation of the upper airways, when homeowners and workers pulled out drywall (sheetrock) and insulation, and allergic responses to mycotoxins produced by so-called black mold (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 mold can be markedly reduced with an N95 respirator.