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Cold, Flu, & Cough Health Center

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Coughs - Preparing For Your Appointment

To prepare for your appointment, see the topic Making the Most of Your Appointment.

You can help your doctor diagnose and treat your condition by being prepared to answer the following questions:

  • How long have you had the cough?
  • How often do you cough?
  • Does the cough have a pattern, such as worsening at night or becoming more frequent in the morning?
  • What situations increase your coughing?
  • Are you exposed to any irritants, such as smoke, dust, or chemicals, in your home or workplace?
  • Is the cough productive (brings up sputum) or nonproductive (dry and hacking)? Be prepared to describe the color (bloody, rusty, white, yellow, or green), amount, and consistency of any sputum.
  • Do you have other symptoms that may be related to your cough, such as nasal drainage, fever, shortness of breath, wheezing, or other suspected cold symptoms?
  • What home treatment have you tried? Did it help?
  • What prescription and nonprescription medicines or other treatments have you tried? Did they help?
  • What prescription and nonprescription medicines do you take regularly?
  • Have you ever been diagnosed with allergies or asthma? Does anyone else in your family have allergies or asthma?
  • Have you traveled recently?
  • Do you have any health risks?
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WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise

Last Updated: May 09, 2013
This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information.
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