Coughs may be dry or chesty, but both are irritating and can take up to 3 weeks to clear up. This might feel like forever when you’re suffering, but it’s normal.
A cough is a reflex action to clear your airways of mucus and irritants, such as dust and smoke.
A cough is often caused by a cold or flu or sometimes allergies such as hay fever or long-term conditions like asthma.
You might get a dry cough when you have a cold or flu because your brain thinks the inflammation in your throat is a foreign object and tries to remove it by coughing.
With a chesty cough you will usually produce phlegm (which is often called mucus). It might not feel great, but this kind of cough is helpful because it’s clearing the phlegm from your lung passages.
It can take up to 3 weeks for a cough to clear up and there is usually no need to see a doctor.
Unfortunately there’s no quick fix for getting rid of a cough caused by a viral infection. It will usually clear up after your immune system has fought off the virus.
You can usually treat a cough yourself. A home remedy of honey and lemon in hot water has the best ingredients to treat a cough.
Honey is a ‘demulcent’, which means it coats the throat and relieves the irritation that causes coughing.
Honey shouldn’t be given to babies under one year old
Cough medicines are usually sugar-based, so diabetics should try to steer clear of them.
If you have any of the symptoms below, see your GP or call NHS 111 for medical advice:
If you're concerned about yourself, a relative or friend, call NHS 111 for medical advice, this free service is available 24 hours a day, every day of the year.
The advisors taking 111 calls are in the same room as those answering 999 calls, so if urgent attention is needed, they can arrange it immediately for you.
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