ON AIR NOW

LISTEN NOW

Weather

Sponsored By: Two Men and a Truck
cloudy-day Created with Sketch.
80°
Sct Thunderstorms
H 94° L 77°
  • cloudy-day Created with Sketch.
    80°
    Current Conditions
    Sct Thunderstorms. H 94° L 77°
  • partly-cloudy-tstorms-day Created with Sketch.
    89°
    Afternoon
    Sct Thunderstorms. H 94° L 77°
  • partly-cloudy-tstorms-day Created with Sketch.
    85°
    Evening
    Sct Thunderstorms. H 93° L 75°
LISTEN
PAUSE
ERROR

The latest top stories

00:00 | 00:00

LISTEN
PAUSE
ERROR

The latest traffic report

00:00 | 00:00

LISTEN
PAUSE
ERROR

The latest forecast

00:00 | 00:00

Coughs can last about 2 weeks

Just how long should that pesky cough last?

The answer, according to most doctors, is close to 18 days. Yet many people with a cough get antsy after about five to nine days, a new study shows.

“Coughs last for longer than we think they do,” says researcher Mark H. Ebell, MD, a family doctor at the University of Georgia in Athens. “People think it should be over in a little over a week, but the reality is that a cough is more likely to last two weeks.”

In the study, researchers asked  500 adults from Georgia how long a cough should last in different situations,  such as with a fever or without. They compared these answers to those found in the medical literature.

Bottom line: There is a disconnect between how long people think a cough should last and how long it actually does. The findings appear in the January/ February issue of the Annals of Family Medicine.

Antibiotics Don’t Help Most Coughs

People in the study who had previously taken antibiotics for a cough were more likely to believe that antibiotics are always helpful for cough. But antibiotics don’t treat viruses, and using them when they are not needed can lead to antibiotic resistance.

Although people who received antibiotics for a cough due to a cold virus after seven days may feel better, it is often just the cough getting better on its own. “People may think it worked, but it is really just the natural history,” Ebell says.

Still, there are some red flags that a cough may be caused by something more serious than a virus.

These include coughs accompanied by:

  • Brown or bloodied sputum
  • Fever
  • Chills
  • Body aches
  • Sudden onset of symptoms
  • Shortness of breath
  • Wheezing
  • Hoarseness
  • Trouble swallowing

People with chronic lung diseases such as asthma should also take their coughs more seriously.

“Coughs lasting 10 days or thereabouts are pretty normal,” says Henry Milgrom, MD. He is a professor of pediatrics at National Jewish Health in Denver.  Still, he says, “we don’t want to miss something that is infectious and treatable. Somebody who has a cough that is productive and a fever may have pneumonia or sinusitis or another treatable infectious disease that we would want to address quickly.”

In this scenario, don’t waste time, he says. But “if you are getting over a cold, have no fever, and no underlying lung disease, a cough can safely last for weeks.”

Whatever you do, don’t ask for antibiotics unless you think your cough is caused by a bacterial infection, says Len Horovitz, MD. He is  a pulmonary and internal medicine specialist at Lenox Hill Hospital in New York City. “They don’t help acute coughs, and if you take them too frequently, they won’t work when you really need them.”

SOURCES:Ebell, M.H. Annals of Family Medicine, January/February 2013.Len Horovitz, MD,  pulmonary and internal medicine specialist, Lenox Hill Hospital, New York City.Henry Milgrom, MD, professor of pediatrics, National Jewish Health, Denver, Colo.Mark H. Ebell, MD, University of Georgia, Athens.

Read More
VIEW COMMENTS

There are no comments yet. Be the first to post your thoughts. or Register.

The Latest News Headlines

  • Police in Georgia are hoping surveillance video that captured a violent attack will help them find the people responsible. Video shows a restaurant owner and her teenage daughter being beaten by two customers Thursday afternoon in Baxley, Georgia. >> Read more trending news The victims told police the suspects were unhappy with their order. The verbal argument turned violent when one of the suspects began punching the restaurant owner repeatedly. When the victim’s teenage daughter came out of the car to break up the fight, the male suspect punched her in the face. WJCL reported that Baxley police have issued warrants for the suspects, Nathaniel Smith and Latasha Smith. The pair could be charged with aggravated battery and cruelty to children. The suspects drove away from the restaurant in a cream or tan Cadillac Escalade with tag number REU8495. Officials said they headed north on Highway 144. Anyone with any information about the assault is asked to call the Baxley Police Department at 912-367-8305 or the 911 call center at 912-367-8111.
  • The Federal Aviation Administration is investigating a small plane crash that occurred Saturday morning near Fort Meyers, the Lee County Sheriff’s Office said. Deputies said the plane crashed into an unoccupied day care building. >> Read more trending news One person died in the crash while another was taken to the hospital. The survivor’s condition has not been released.
  • A Transportation Security Administration agent has been arrested after he was accused of stealing money from a passenger at Orlando International Airport in Florida, Orlando police said. >> Read more trending news Alexander Shae Johnson, 22, was arrested Thursday night. Passenger Kathleen Duddleston entered the TSA checkpoint and was stopped for additional screening, police said. While she was patted down, Duddleston told TSA security officer Michelle Metz that she couldn’t see her luggage, so Metz moved her closer. Duddleston complained again that she couldn’t see her bag, and Johnson moved slightly. After the pat down, Duddleston reached for her bag and could not find her money, police said. She said she noticed a bulge in Johnson’s left front shirt pocket. Duddleston asked Johnson if that was her money, and he said he got the money from the bank, police said. The woman complained to Metz that she believed Johnson stole money from her. Metz contacted her supervisor. Duddleston has been charged with third-degree grand theft. TSA said in a statement to WFTV: TSA has a zero tolerance for misconduct in the workplace. The TSA immediately reported the allegation to OPD and we aggressively investigated the incident with our law enforcement partner. TSA officers represent a professional and honorable workforce that is trained to treat passengers and their personal belongings with care and respect. No exceptions will be tolerated. We immediately ended the federal career of this individual.
  • A scare happened at a Leominster, Massachusetts, supermarket after a 4-day-old newborn was left locked inside of a hot car while her mother was inside shopping. >> Read more trending news Mother Sharma Murphy said that on her way to Market Basket supermarket on Friday, she stopped by the fire house to make sure her baby’s car seat was properly installed. Less than an hour later, those firefighters helped rescue her 4-day-old baby, who was locked in her hot car. A shopper called Leominster police after spotting a newborn alone inside a car. It was Sharma Murphy's silver Chevy Malibu. >> A reminder of hot car dangers as temperatures climb Murphy said she was out for the first time with her newborn daughter, 4-day-old Katherine, and was nervous. “I went, I bought it. Came right out and this lady just starts screaming at me. Screaming at me,” said Murphy. Murphy said she brought her newborn inside with her to Market Basket and then returned to the car when Katherine fell asleep. She said that she ran back inside for two or three minutes to buy some baby formula. “I went (in and) I bought it,” Murphy said. “(I) came right out and this lady just starts screaming at me.” Related: Two toddlers dead after 15 hours in hot car, police say Police said the windows were rolled up. “I believe she locked her keys in the car because they had to use the jimmy to get the baby out,” witness John Casey told WFXT. According to WFXT meteorologists, the outside temperature was 84 degrees at the time. Murphy said she didn’t want to wake her newborn. “I thought, ‘OK, if I run in and run out...’ It was one of those things where she's gotta eat because I have nothing left for her and that's when everything happened and I'm like, oh my God,” Murphy said. Katherine was taken to the hospital to be checked out. Her mother said he is fine. The baby is currently in custody of DCF. No charges have been filed.
  • UPDATE: JSO says Waverly was found under a motel stairway by a maintenance worker on Sunday. ---------- The Jacksonville Sheriff's Office is asking you to keep an eye out for a missing elderly man, diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease.   JSO tells us Waverly Northington Jr., 66, left his home in the 8200 block of Halls Hammock Court on Friday morning, between the hours of 12:00 am and 2:45 am.   Police say they've conducted an extensive search, but haven't been able to find him.  We're told Northington doesn't have a vehicle, so he's believed to be on foot.   Northington is described as a black male, 5'9'', 130 pounds, with gray hair and brown eyes. He was last seen wearing all white clothing with white shoes.   If you know where he is, or even if you've spotted him somewhere today, you're urged to contact the Sheriff's Office at (904) 630-0500.

The Latest News Videos