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Cold, Flu, & Cough Health Center

What May Increase Your Risk of Problems From a Cough?

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Many conditions, diseases, medicines, and lifestyle choices interfere with your ability to heal or fight infection. You may be at risk for a more serious problem from your symptoms if you have any of the following. Be sure to tell your health professional.


  • Age younger than 3 months
  • Age older than 60
  • Exposure to asbestos
  • Living with smokers or being regularly exposed to secondhand smoke
  • Previous surgery to remove the spleen (splenectomy)
  • Recent hospitalization (may increase your risk for pneumonia)

Lifestyle choices

  • Alcohol abuse or withdrawal
  • Drug abuse or withdrawal
  • Occupational exposure to smoke, dust, or fumes
  • Smoking or other tobacco use



ByHealthwise Staff
Primary Medical ReviewerWilliam H. Blahd, Jr., MD, FACEP - Emergency Medicine
Specialist Medical ReviewerDavid Messenger, MD
Current as ofMarch 12, 2014

WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise

Last Updated: March 12, 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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