Cough

Having a cough is one of the most common reasons for seeing your doctor. Coughing is important to keep your throat and airways clear by getting rid of mucus or other irritating particles. However, a long-lasting (chronic) or severe cough may mean you have an underlying disease or disorder.

Coughs can be dry or "productive," which means that you are bringing up sputum or phlegm when you cough. An acute cough typically lasts no longer than 2 to 3 weeks. A chronic cough lasts longer than 4 weeks.

Many illnesses can cause cough. Acute coughs usually begin suddenly and are often due to a cold, flu, or sinus infection. Coughs from a lung infection, such as bronchitis can start out suddenly and then linger. Other common causes of chronic. or ongoing coughs, include asthma, allergies, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) from emphysema or chronic bronchitis, sinusitis with drainage into the throat, smoking cigarettes or exposure to secondhand smoke, pollutants, and gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD). Some medications, such as ACE inhibitors taken to lower blood pressure, can cause chronic coughs in some people.

If your cough lasts more than 2 weeks, see your doctor to determine the cause.

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Review Date: 9/29/2015  

Reviewed By: Steven D. Ehrlich, NMD, Solutions Acupuncture, a private practice specializing in complementary and alternative medicine, Phoenix, AZ. Review provided by VeriMed Healthcare Network.

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