Trying to kick a nagging cough? It often just takes patience and time, physicians say – CBC

Coughs lasting a few weeks after an infection usually don’t need medication or treatment

Feb 12, 2024

A niggling, nagging cough. They’re unpleasant, aggravating and — unfortunately — all too common after various viral infections.

Research suggests “post-infectious cough,” referring to symptoms lasting between three and eight weeks, impacts up to a quarter of adults after an initial respiratory infection like a cold, flu or COVID.

So how do you kick that kind of lingering cough for good?

In many cases, it’s just a matter of patience and time, suggest a trio of physicians in an article published in the Canadian Medical Association Journal (CMAJ) on Monday.

“Most of the time the cough will resolve on its own without any medication or treatment, but it can last a lot longer than you think,” said one of the article’s authors, Vancouver-based family physician Dr. Kevin Liang, in an interview with CBC News.

Liang, a clinical instructor in the department of family practice at the University of British Columbia, said patients often seem worried about their long-lasting coughs, thinking they still have their initial infection.

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