Many coughs are caused by a viral illness. Antibiotics
are not used to treat viral illnesses and do not alter the course of viral
infections. Unnecessary use of an antibiotic exposes you to the risks of an
allergic reaction and antibiotic side effects, such as
nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, rashes, and yeast infections. Antibiotics also may
kill beneficial bacteria and encourage the development of dangerous
evaluation of your health may help you identify other symptoms. Remember, a
cough is only a symptom, not a disease, and often the importance of your cough
can only be determined when other symptoms are evaluated. Coughs occur with
bacterial and viral respiratory infections. If you
have other symptoms, such as a sore throat, sinus pressure, or ear pain, see
the Related Topics section.
Check your symptoms to
decide if and when you should see a doctor.