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Health Secrets
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Productive (chesty) cough

Dr Roger Henderson
Reviewed by Dr Roger HendersonReviewed on 13.10.2023 | 1 minute read

Coughs are annoying. New coughs are commonly caused by viral infections and can be managed at home without seeing your doctor.

Starting small by taking it easy, getting good amounts of sleep, and ensuring that you are eating and drinking well will help. You can also try some simple over-the-counter treatments to help with your symptoms. Healthwords pharmacists have put together some of our favorite medications that can be purchased over the counter to help with a productive cough.

When should I see my doctor?

Most productive coughs get better by themselves within 2 weeks with rest, plenty of fluids, and painkillers as necessary. In some cases, symptoms can last for up to 3 weeks. You should book a routine appointment to discuss with your doctor if your cough is not improving after 2 weeks, or you are concerned about your symptoms.

If your symptoms are severe and not responding to painkillers, you are finding it difficult to maintain fluids or to bring your fever down with medication, speak to your doctor urgently or call 111 outside of working hours.

If you are immunocompromised because of medication or a condition, or you have long-term medical conditions such as heart, lung, kidney, or neurological illnesses, speak to your doctor. If you have a sudden loss of hearing without pain or any other signs of an ear or respiratory infection, you should seek urgent help from your doctor.

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Dr Roger Henderson
Reviewed by Dr Roger Henderson
Reviewed on 13.10.2023