Text Size Default Text SizeDefault Text Size Large Text SizeLarge Text Size Largest Text SizeLargest Text Size Print Print this Page



What is it?

An occasional cough is normal — it helps clear foreign substances and secretions from your lungs and prevents infection. Cough often accompanies colds and flu. However, coughs associated with cold or flu usually last a couple of weeks. A cough that persists for longer than 2 weeks is usually the result of an underlying problem.    

Self-Care Options for Symptoms:

  • DON'T SMOKE it irritates the lining of the nose and throat and can worsen symptoms.
  • INCREASE HUMIDITY to reduce nasal stuffiness. If you do not have a humidifier or vaporizer, try sitting in a steamy bathroom with a hot running shower for 15 minutes.
  • PRACTICE GOOD HYGIENE to prevent spreading your cold. Cover your nose and mouth when you sneeze or cough, wash your hands and dispose of used tissues. Avoid sharing towels, drinks, cigarettes, and eating utensils.
  • GARGLE WITH WARM SALT WATER a couple of times per day. This will help cut through the mucus in the back of your throat if that is what is causing/irritating your cough.  
  • THROAT LOZENGES give temporary relief of pain.
  • SORE MUSCLES (from coughing), treat as you normally would.
  • MEDICATIONS:  ALWAYS read the labels first!
    • Talk with a local Pharmacist if unsure what to take.

Call Student Health (434.395.2102) or Urgent Care/Emergency Department if SHWC Closed:

  • IF the cough worsens or lingers more than 2 weeks.
  • IF you are unable to sleep because of coughing.
  • IF the cough effects school or work.
  • IF you have fever higher than 100.5ºF (38ºC) for more than 3 days or if medication doesn’t lower your temperature.

Seek IMMEDIATE Health Care at Student Health or Urgent Care/Emergency Department:

        ·  Chest pain at any time

      ·   Difficulty breathing not caused by nasal congestion (i.e.: shortness of breath, wheezing)
·   Coughing up blood

      ·   Fever higher than 100.5ºF (38ºC)