A cough is your body’s natural response to an irritant in your lungs or air passages. It is normal to get a cough occasionally, but a cough that persists for longer than three or four weeks, is accompanied by pain or a fever, or brings up bloody or discolored mucus could be a sign of an underlying health problem that needs medical attention.
Coughs are usually accompanied by other symptoms, such as a runny nose, fever, or watery eyes. Coughs have many causes, including:
To relieve a cough, take a warm steamy shower or drink water or a hot drink. Sucking a cough drop or hard candy may help. (Do not give hard candies to small children because they could accidentally inhale them.) Use a vaporizer or humidifier to moisturize the air.
If the cough is caused by a cold or virus, antihistamines and cough syrups might help. Read the labels and directions carefully. Never give cough medicine to a child without consulting a physician.
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