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How Long is a Cough Contagious?

How Long is a Cough Contagious

How Long is a Cough Contagious? which compels them to constantly cough when they are sick. Please read more for the answer to that question and to learn more about coughs in general.

Once I have a cough




Once I have a cough, how long is it contagious?” I don’t want to give my cough to everyone I meet!” Yes, that is an understandable sentiment to have, and it’s good that you care about the health of others!

Well get this, according to the latest medical research online, “a cough itself is not contagious!”

How Long is a Virus Contagious?

However, the cold, flu, or fever which you have which produces that annoying cough certainly is. You are right to be worried about your cough When you just can’t ‘kick that cough!’

I have heard of the phrase, ‘when you just can’t kick that habit,’ but I thought that referred to smoking. What did you mean when you said, ‘when you just can’t ‘kick that cough?’ Also, please explain to me how long is a cough contagious for?”

Certainly, this article will attempt to answer that question. Many people, including you, want to know how long a cough is contagious because it is annoying.

No one likes that rasping, itchy and scratchy feeling in the back of their throat when though it in itself is not transmittable. This is because your cough is the perfect way to give your illness to others rapidly since the germs and viruses causing your illness travel far by the aerosols you spew out when you cough.

Speaking of coughs, do you want to know more about them?

How Long is a Cough Contagious

I am relieved to hear that a cough is not contagious, but since they are annoying please tell me more about them!” Sure, but it may be prudent to provide you with a formal definition of a cough. If you go online and you look up the phrase, ‘what is a cough.’ you will likely read a paragraph worded similar to this, ‘when a person coughs, he or she forces air through his or her throat (often in the attempt to expel irritating substances from the respiratory passages) and usually makes a loud noise in the process.’

Did you know that many different types of coughs exist?

I always thought there was one type of cough, the annoying one. But now that you mentioned this, I want to know more.” Many different types of coughs exist. They are listed and explained in more detail below. The medical community formally recognizes six different types of coughs:

  • Dry cough
  • Wet cough
  • Barking cough
  • Whooping cough
  • Stress cough
  • Acute cough

Dry cough – This type of cough is often referred to as a ‘non-productive’ cough by medical professionals because it doesn’t produce any mucus or sputum.

Wet cough – Doctors call a wet cough a productive cough because it produces sputum and/or mucus

Barking cough – Kids under five get this cough often. A barking cough usually accompanies a viral illness – oftentimes croup.

Whooping cough – You will likely get this cough if you have a bacterial (pertussis) or viral infection. Most of the people who get whooping cough and children. It’s called whooping cough because people make a whooping sound when they cough.

Stress cough – If you are constantly under stress, you may get a non-productive cough. It is reflexive and is referred to as a ‘stress cough.’

Acute cough – If you have this type of cough, then you haven’t had it for long. An acute cough can also be an ‘intermittent’ cough.

Chronic cough – A chronic cough lasts a minimum of 1 week and a maximum of 8 weeks. It is persistent. Please note that the timeframe given above is a ‘general rule of thumb’ because different health professionals have different time frames for its duration.

Other vital information about ‘the cough’

Coughs are annoying for me so I didn’t really give them much thought in the past. However, this article has sparked my curiosity, so please tell me more about it!” Well, did you know that coughing and especially excessive coughing can cause you to vomit? How is this so? Coughing can cause this because it may occasionally prompt a gagging reflex.

How will I know when I have a cough?”

I am constantly under stress so I find myself coughing more than most people. I would love to know when I have a cough because I am not aware of most of the signs!” You will know you have a cough when you are constantly contracting your throat and making coughing noises. You can detect the type of cough you have from its noise?” “Hey wait, please tell me more about this!” The answers are below.

How to tell what type of cough you have

If you have a constant cough which is non-productive (dry), you likely have a stress cough. These coughs are entirely reflexive – they are not caused by infectious diseases or pathogens so they are harmless.

Some coughs are not harmless though. Coughs caused by cigarette smoke are not. These types of coughs are usually productive (wet) and are generally triggered by harmful irritants like second-hand smoke.

Go to the doctor if you have this type of cough because it can lead to more serious respiratory problems like emphysema, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD or chronic bronchitis), and even cancer!

You may have a chronic dry cough which only appears during the spring or fall which are commonly referred to as ‘allergy seasons.’ This cough should not be ignored since it is generally indicative of an underlying chronic issue like lung disease!

Whooping cough and croup produce wet coughs that make the same barking noises that seals do. Finally, you may have coughs that produce either blood or bloody mucus or sputum. Always consult your doctor immediately because these coughs are indicative of serious health problems, therefore they can be dangerous.

How do people get a cough?

I hate coughs and want to avoid them as much as possible. I want to know how they are spread for this reason!”

Before giving you the answers, you should know that some dry coughs are not contagious because they are caused by irritants like pet dander, pollen, cigarette smoke, and certain chemicals.

You need to worry about wet coughs because they usually spread aerosols which are full of infectious bacteria and/or viruses. If you don’t want to be sick all of the time, ask sick people to use a kleenex or wear a face mask when coughing.

You need to see the doctor now if…

You need to see the doctor now if you experience one or more of the following with your cough:

  • Your cough has lasted for at least a weak and has shown no signs of dissipating.
  • You are constantly coughing at night or you have chills when you cough.
  • The cough is accompanied by a fever lasting a minimum of three days
  • Your cough produces blood or bloody mucus or sputum.

Go to the emergency room if…

Drive to your nearest emergency room now if your cough is accompanied by:

  • Lots of wheezing
  • Difficulty breathing
  • A tight feeling in your chest
  • Coughing or vomiting up blood – this type of cough should definitely not be ignored because it may be indicative of an ulcer or other serious medical conditions.

Thanks for the information

I read this article because I wanted to know how long is a cough contagious for. I learned a lot of useful information about coughs, and I picked up some pointers regarding avoiding getting coughs. I really appreciated the useful information in this article!”



About the author

Prita Kulkarni-Srinivasan

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