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Acute Cough


An acute cough

is a cough that lasts up to 3 weeks. It may be caused by the common cold, allergies, or an infection. Conditions such as COPD and asthma may also cause an acute cough.

Seek care immediately if:

  • You are breathing fast, or you have trouble breathing.
  • You cough up blood, or you see blood in your mucus.
  • You have a fever, and you are coughing up yellow or green mucus.

Contact your healthcare provider if:

  • Your cough does not get better within 8 weeks.
  • You have questions or concerns about your condition or care.


An acute cough usually goes away on its own within 3 to 4 weeks. Ask your healthcare provider about medicines you can take to decrease your cough. You may need medicine to treat allergies or decrease swelling in your airways. If you have a bacterial infection, you may need antibiotics.

Follow up with your healthcare provider as directed:

Write down your questions so you remember to ask them during your visits.

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The above information is an educational aid only. It is not intended as medical advice for individual conditions or treatments. Talk to your doctor, nurse or pharmacist before following any medical regimen to see if it is safe and effective for you.