When to see a doctorBy Mayo Clinic staff
Call your doctor if your cough doesn't go away after several weeks or if you or your child is:
- Coughing up thick, greenish-yellow phlegm
- Experiencing a fever more than 100 F (38 C)
- Experiencing shortness of breath
Seek emergency care
Seek emergency care if you or your child is:
- Having difficulty breathing or swallowing
- Coughing up bloody or pink-tinged phlegm
To ease your cough, try these tips:
- Suck cough drops or hard candies. They may ease a dry cough and soothe an irritated throat. Don't give them to a child under age 3, however, because they can cause choking.
- Moisturize the air. Use a vaporizer or take a hot, steamy shower.
- Drink fluids. Liquid helps thin the mucus in your throat. Warm liquids, such as broth, tea or lemon juice and honey in warm water, can soothe your throat.
- Cough. National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute. http://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/health/dci/Diseases/cough/cough_all.html. Accessed April 26, 2013.
- Bope ET, et al. Conn's Current Therapy. Philadelphia, Pa.: Saunders Elsevier; 2013. http://www.mdconsult.com/books/about.do?about=true&eid=$eid&isbn=978-1-4557-0295-4&uniqId=398813857-1936. Accessed April 26, 2013.
- Silvestri RC, et al. Evaluation of subacute and chronic cough in adults. http://www.uptodate.com/home. Accessed April 26, 2013.
- Benich JJ, et al. Evaluation of the patient with chronic cough. American Family Physician. 2011;84:887.
- Schmitt BD. Pediatric Telephone Protocols. 14th ed. Elk Grove Village, Ill.: American Academy of Pediatrics; 2013:66.