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"Why am I still coughing?"

ZocdocAnswersWhy am I still coughing?


I was sick two weeks ago but I am still coughing. Why am I still coughing if nothing is coming up? Is something happening in my throat?


A persistent cough can be one of the most bothersome symptoms of an upper respiratory infection. In some cases a cough will go away along with your other symptoms (fever, chills, sore throat, malaise etc), but it is not at all unusual for a viral illness to lead to a cough that takes a number of weeks to fully resolve. As you noted, it is significant that you are not brining up any sputum when you cough--large amounts of discolored mucous along with a cough (or any other symptoms) can suggest that you may still be suffering from a pulmonary infection. In your case, you most likely have a post-viral cough that will eventually go away, even if it takes a few additional weeks to do so. In the meantime, you can use cough drops or cough syrup to suppress the cough so that it is less bothersome for you. In addition, since you have been sick and you are still having symptoms, it is also a good idea to be evaluated by your primary care physician. He or she can take a more thorough history of your cold and do a physical exam to make sure that you don't have any signs of a more serious illness--something other than the ordinary cold--that might require additional testing or medications.

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