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Cold, Flu, & Cough Health Center

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Coughs, Age 12 and Older - 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?

    This information is produced and provided by the National Cancer Institute (NCI). The information in this topic may have changed since it was written. For the most current information, contact the National Cancer Institute via the Internet web site at http:// cancer .gov or call 1-800-4-CANCER.

    WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise

    Last Updated: February 05, 2014
    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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