ZocdocAnswersI have been coughing for 2 weeks. What is wrong with me and how can I treat my cough?

Question

I have been coughing for 2 weeks. What is wrong with me and how can I treat my cough?

I have tried cough medicine but it does not help

Answer

Generally speaking, a cough that persists for more than 6 weeks is chronic. Chronic cough is not a disease in itself but rather a symptom of an underlying condition, and it is important to visit a doctor to get evaluated. There are many potential causes of chronic coughs, but it is not really clear what might trigger your cough, or whether it is dry or productive, thin and clear or thick mucous, or whether you have blood in the sputum. Does it occur only in the morning, at certain time or place, or does it occur all the time? Asthma is a frequent cause of chronic cough, but you would also get wheezes. Cigarette smoking often causes chronic cough (smoker's lung). Coughing can also be provoked by residual common cold or bacterial or viral infections in the lungs (acute bronchitis, pneumonia, whooping cough, etc). Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) is a condition that your stomach acid moves backward up the esophagus, and reflexes result in spasm of the airways that can cause shortness of breath and coughing. Sinus problems and postnasal drip can also cause a tickle in the throat that triggers frequent throat clearing. Tuberculosis and lung cancer can also present with coughing, often with weight loss and blood in the sputum. In a few cases, allergens or mold can be the source of a chronic cough. As you can see, potential causes for chronic coughs are many. It is best that you follow up with a primary care provider or pulmonologist who can differentiate what causes your cough and treat you accordingly.

This answer is for general informational purposes only and is not a substitute for professional medical advice.

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