With an infection affecting the upper airways (upper respiratory tract infection), other symptoms may go alongside the cough such as a runny nose and sneezing. Generally you won’t have a fever and will feel reasonably well in yourself.
In these cases there is usually no need to see your GP if you or your child have a mild cough for a week or two.
These symptoms may be suggestive of an infection involving the lower airways (lower respiratory tract infection) or a different underlying cause.
Treatment isn't always necessary for mild, short-term coughs because it's likely to be a viral infectionthat will get better on its own within a few weeks and antibiotics will not be helpful.
You can look after yourself at home by resting, drinking plenty of fluids, and taking painkillers such as paracetamol or ibuprofen.
There are cough medicines that are available over the counter but there is little evidence to suggest they are helpful.
For more information on coughs, visit the NHS choices website by clicking the link below:
Content adapted from NHS Choices