A new study says the average costs last 18 days, even though most people think it lasts only seven days.
Researchers from the University of Georgia asked 500 Georgia residents about how long they think a person should have a cough. The average response was between seven and nine days. However, when those researchers looked at 19 different studies, they were able to determine acute cough illness lasts 17.8 days on average.
Doctors say this misconception could be dangerous, since people tend to head to the doctor before they need to.
"After a week or so, people get impatient," said valley doctor Anne Borik.
"They call their doctor. They want to get on antibiotics, and there are side effects to that. The biggest problem is resistance. Taking antibiotics that are not necessary can only open up a whole can of worms like bad side effects, and resistance to (antibiotics). In the future when you really need (antibiotics), they may not work," she continued.
In fact, the same study determined that 2-3 percent of all doctor visits may be because of unnecessary trips because of coughs. Boric said most people should wait for their cough to subside; however, there are some tell-tale signs you may need to head to the doctor's office.
"(If phlegm is) blood tinted, that could be a problem. If it's colored phlegm, that could suggest a bacterial origin. But when it's really affiliated with more of a viral syndrome that can just be a nagging chronic cough that could last three weeks four week and most people don't realize that," she explained.
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