Coughing is a reflex that keeps your throat and airways clear. Although it can be annoying, coughing helps your body heal or protect itself. Coughs can be either acute or chronic. Acute coughs begin suddenly and usually last no more than 2 to 3 weeks. Acute coughs are the kind you most often get with a cold, flu, or acute bronchitis. Chronic coughs last longer than 2 to 3 weeks. Causes of chronic cough include
- Chronic bronchitis
- COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease)
- GERD (gastroesophageal reflux disease)
- Throat disorders, such as croup in young children
- Some medicines
Water can help ease your cough - whether you drink it or add it to the air with a steamy shower or vaporizer. If you have a cold or the flu, antihistamines may work better than non-prescription cough medicines. Children under four should not have cough medicine. For children over four, use caution and read labels carefully.
Diagnosis and Tests
- Chest X-Ray (National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute) Also in Spanish
- Cough Culprits: What's the Difference Between Bronchitis and Pneumonia? (National Institutes of Health) Also in Spanish
Prevention and Risk Factors
- Cover Your Cough (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention)
Journal Articles References and abstracts from MEDLINE/PubMed (National Library of Medicine)
- Article: Mechanisms of "Cough-Trick" for Pain Relief during Venipuncture: An Experimental Crossover...
- Article: Optimal effect-site concentration of propofol for tracheal suctioning during emergence from...
- Article: A traditional Chinese patent medicine-Suhuang zhike capsule for cough variant asthma...
- Cough -- see more articles