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Chronic Cough

Medically reviewed by Last updated on Apr 2, 2024.

What is a chronic cough?

A chronic cough is a cough that lasts more than 4 weeks in children or 8 weeks in adults.

What causes a chronic cough?

What other signs and symptoms might I have?

How is a chronic cough diagnosed?

Your healthcare provider will examine you and ask about your symptoms. Tell him or her about your medical conditions, medicines, and any recent respiratory infections. Tell him or her if you have ever smoked, currently smoke, or are exposed to secondhand smoke. You may need a chest x-ray to check for problems with your lungs. You may need other tests to find the cause of your chronic cough. This may include blood tests, lung function tests, or an endoscopy. Ask your healthcare provider for more information on these tests.

How is a chronic cough treated?

The cough may go away on its own without treatment. You may need medicine to stop the cough or treat the cause of your cough. This may include medicine to treat allergies or acid reflux, or decrease swelling in your airways. You may also need antibiotics to treat a respiratory infection. If you take medicine that causes a chronic cough, it may be stopped or changed. You may need speech therapy. A speech therapist can teach you ways to control your cough.

Treatment options

The following list of medications are related to or used in the treatment of this condition.

View more treatment options

What can I do to care for myself?

Call your local emergency number (911 in the US) for any of the following:

When should I call my doctor?

Care Agreement

You have the right to help plan your care. Learn about your health condition and how it may be treated. Discuss treatment options with your healthcare providers to decide what care you want to receive. You always have the right to refuse treatment. 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.

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Further information

Always consult your healthcare provider to ensure the information displayed on this page applies to your personal circumstances.