Home » Health Studies in the News » Most Coughs Take 3 Weeks to Clear Up

Most Coughs Take 3 Weeks to Clear Up


When stricken with cough and cold, most of us assume to be back to our bright eye, bushy-tailed selves within about a week’s time. However, scientists from the University of Georgia in Athens are cautioning sickies to have some patience. It seems the common cough takes about three weeks to clear up!

The study was meant to span the gap between the unrealistic expectations of patients who reach for antibiotics, and how long it realistically takes a cough to pass.

“We’re not trying to discourage people from getting care if they feel they need it,” says study lead, Mark Ebell, “but we want to give them the confidence to give themselves care in situations when it’s appropriate..[and make] efforts to reduce inappropriate antibiotic use…”

Ebell pointed to the fact that using antibiotics won’t do you any good. In fact, it only fuels drug resistance (meaning the body won’t respond to antibiotics when it really needs them), wastes money, and increase patient load and waiting times in medical clinics and health care facilities.

The study was conducted via 493 telephone surveys of adults in George. Participants were polled on topics such as how long they expect it to take for a cough to clear up and how long it actually takes before they visit a doctor for antibiotics.

Findings from the telephone interviews revealed that:

  1. The majority expect a cough to clear up within 7 to 9 days, even if they have a high fever and are coughing up yellow mucous.
  2. Scientists then reviewed 19 previous studies on severe coughs and found that, on average, it took 17.8 days for a cough to diminish.

The study findings create awareness and realistic expectations around the fact that if you are stricken with a cough and cold; you’ll probably be sick for about three weeks. Getting an antibiotic at any point during the course is not going to make it shorter.

However, Ebell notes that if there is blood in your cough, or the cough worsens after a month, you should call a doctor immediately. Otherwise, over-the-counter cough and cold remedies should out you on the road to recovery.

Source: Reuters

ADVERTISEMENT

We Recommend

More on ActiveBeat
  • The 10 Most Effective Cough Remedies & Treatments
    Some call it autumn—others refer to it with dread as “cold and flu season”. Whatever you call fall, you know it’s the time of year that ushers in colds and hacking coughs...
    Health Studies in the News
  • When the Flu Requires Medical Attention...
    Each and every one of us has had the flu at some point in our lives. The sniffles, a nagging cough, sore throat, and fever may send you to bed for a few days, but have you ever...
    Health Studies in the News
  • The Biggest, Baddest Superbug Threats to Your Health
    Over the past decade, there has been a lot of news coverage on superbugs that have made their way to North America and pose threats to the health of the general public.
    Health Studies in the News
  • 12 Natural Cough Remedies
    With winter in full force and people spending most of their time within the warmer confines of homes and offices, the common cold is highly visible.
    Health Studies in the News
  • Try to Stomach These 12 Facts About Gastroenteritis
    This illness has the word "flu" in it, but let's be clear – it's not the same thing as influenza, and is not caused by the same virus as flu.
    Health Studies in the News
  • 7 Surprising Ways to Ward Off a Winter Cold
    It's the colder season, so you probably just assume you're going to end up with a cold at some point in the next few months.
    Health Studies in the News
  • 15 Common Reasons Behind That Stubborn Cough
    Is an incessant cough keeping you up at night, causing you a tight chest, or the result of mucus buildup?
    Health Studies in the News
  • The Research on the Flu Vaccine
    Every fall, advertisements appear reminding you to get your yearly flu shot. The Centre for Chronic Disease (CDC) recommends that everyone above the age of 6-months should get...
    Health Studies in the News
  • 14 Signs of a Sinus Infection
    You know the feeling? You’re run down, stuffed up, feverish, maybe a little chilly,  with a sore throat, and an annoying post-nasal drip.
    Health Studies in the News
  • 10 Natural Ways to Boost Your Immune System
    With the snowy winter weather comes the dreaded cold and flu season. Many of us will hope and pray that we don’t succumb to the viruses spreading around us, because once that...
    Health Studies in the News
  • New Coronavirus Compared to SARS
    According to the World Health Organization, a new coronavirus (the hCoV-EMC) with origins in the Middle East is being blamed for nine infections and five deaths.
    Health Studies in the News
  • Recognizing the Symptoms of Swine Flu
    Flu season is upon us, and folks are doing everything they can to avoid catching a nasty flu bug, like swine flu, or H1N1.
    Health Studies in the News
  • Flu Season Starts Off With A Kick
    The flu season is hitting hard and fast this year in the United States. The Center for Disease Control and Prevention is saying that it could be the start of the worst flu season...
    Health Studies in the News
  • The Best Exercises To Ward Off A Cold!
    You feel that slight tickle in the back of your sinuses, followed by a sniffle, chaffed throat, and scratchy cough.
    Health Studies in the News
  • 8 Common Ways Infections Spread
    Germs—be they viral infections, bacterial microbes, or super bugs waiting to take you out for an entire week—are invisible and brutal in their penetration of our...
    Health Studies in the News