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When to See a Doctor for Your Cough


Updated July 07, 2014


Certain coughs can be serious.

Michael Krasowitz/Photographer's Choice/Getty Images

We all cough from time to time. It's usually nothing to worry about and goes away within about a week. But how do you know when it's something more serious that needs treatment?

You should contact your doctor if you have a cough and any of the following symptoms.

  1. When cough produces mucous that is yellow, green or tan and has lasted more than a week or is accompanied by a fever.
  2. When coughing up blood.
  3. When short of breath and wheezing.
  4. When you have heart problems. If you are coughing up pink, frothy mucous go to an Emergency Room immediately.
  5. When accompanied by night sweats or fevers at night.

Any time you are concerned about your cough, you should consult your health care provider.

For more information about coughs and how to deal with them, see:


"Cough." Familydoctor.org 1996. American Academy of Family Physicians. 21 Apr 14.

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