A cough is a reflex action to clear your airways of mucus and irritants such as dust or smoke.It's rarely a sign of anything serious.
A "dry cough" means it's tickly and doesn't produce any phlegm (thick mucus). A "chesty cough" means phlegm is produced to help clear your airways.
Most coughs clear up within three weeks and don't require any treatment. For more persistent coughs, it's a good idea to see your GP so they can investigate the cause.
Read about some of the main causes or short- and long-term coughs, when to see your GP, and what treatments are available.
Some of the main causes of short-term (acute) and persistent (chronic) coughs are outlined below. Short-term coughs Common causes of a short-term cough include: an upper respiratory tract infection (
There's usually no need to see your GP if you or your childhave a mild cough for a week or two. However, you should seek medical advice if: you've had a cough for more than three weeks your cough is
Treatment isn't always necessary for mild, short-term coughs because it's likely to be a viral infection that will getbetter on its own within a few weeks. You can look after yourself at home by resti