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How Can I Tell if My Cough Is Serious?

By: Houston Medical ER | Published 10/15/2021

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A cough is a symptom of a medical condition and can be classified as acute, subacute, or chronic. Coughs lasting less than three weeks are considered to be acute, coughs lasting in the range of three to eight weeks are subacute and anything longer than eight weeks is considered to be a chronic cough. Coughing can be accompanied by additional symptoms such as a stuffy or runny nose, sore throat, heartburn, hoarseness, or an unpleasant taste in the mouth. In some cases, a cough can be a sign of a serious condition that requires medical attention. See a doctor immediately if you have any of the following symptoms in conjunction with your cough: - Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing - Wheezing or rapid, shallow breathing - Chest pain - Fever - Coughing up yellow or green phlegm, or coughing up blood - Violent coughing that causes you to vomit - Unexplained weight loss - Fainting - Persistent coughing that doesn't ease up for more than 8 weeks - Swelling of the ankles or feet

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