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Is Your Cough Lingering? Study Explains Why You’re Still Hacking

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(Credit: Getty Images)

(Credit: Getty Images)

Maybe it’s a tickle in the throat or a body shaking hacking. A new clinical study in the Anals of Family Medicine reveals why that cough may be sticking around.

“There are about 3 million outpatient visits each year in which the patient presents with just a complaint of cough most often that’s due to a routine viral bronchitis.” Dr. Rick Lange, professor of Medicine at Johns Hopkins and Chairman of Medicine at the University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio. Dr. Lange described how the expectations of the nearly 500 people battling a persistent cough was very different from reality. “The cough lasted an average of 17.8 days just due to the viral illness and when they polled the patients their expectation is a cough would last just 5 to 7 days.”

That expectation means after about a week on antibiotics, many people head back to the doctor, even after other symptoms such as fevers or chills have gone away. “The message we need to be giving our patients, it’s normal to still be coughing 2 to 3 weeks after the onset of their illness and they should only seek care if they have worsening symptoms,” asserts Dr. Lange.

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