UVA Health: When to see your doctor about a lingering cough

Published: Feb. 16, 2023 at 5:45 PM EST
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CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (WVIR) - If you’ve had a cough for up to ten weeks after being sick, that is classified as a lingering cough. The good news is that it’s not contagious, but the bad news is that there’s no real cure.

“After two years of an illness that really made us look at people every time they coughed, we’re probably a little bit more aware of it,” Doctor Kyle Enfield with UVA Health said.

Dr. Enfield says that winter is the time he’s seeing most of these persistent coughs. He says over the counter medications only work slightly better than placebos.

“You need to also think about this potential side effects, because even over the counter medicines have potential side effects, so you should be fairly cautious about what you take to suppress the cough,” Dr. Enfield said.

The majority of cases go away on their own, but if it lasts more than three months, Enfield suggests a visit to the doctor.

“You’re not going to spread that virus when you cough with these lingering coughs. If you have other things in your body, you could spread those, so I think it’s always still important to cover your mouth and nose when you cough, nut you’re not at risk of spreading the disease that you just got over from,” Dr. Enfield said.

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