Common causes — chronic

  1. Allergies
  2. Asthma (most common in children)
  3. Bronchitis
  4. GERD — Gastroesophageal reflux disease
  5. Postnasal drip

An occasional cough is normal. But a cough that persists may signal an underlying problem. A cough is considered "acute" if it lasts less than three weeks; it's "chronic" if it lasts longer than eight weeks (four weeks in children).

Some causes of coughs include:

Common causes — acute

  1. Common cold
  2. Influenza (flu)
  3. Inhaling an irritant
  4. Pneumonia
  5. Whooping cough


  1. Acute sinusitis
  2. Bronchiectasis
  3. Bronchiolitis (especially in young children)
  4. Choking: First aid (especially in children)
  5. Chronic sinusitis
  6. COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease) and other lung diseases
  7. Croup (especially in young children)
  8. Cystic fibrosis
  9. Emphysema
  10. Hay fever
  11. Heart failure (congestive)
  12. Laryngitis
  13. Lung cancer
  14. Medications called angiotensin-converting enzyme (ACE) inhibitors
  15. Neuromuscular diseases such as parkinsonism, which weaken the coordination of upper airway and swallowing muscles
  16. Respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) (especially in young children)
  17. Tuberculosis

Causes shown here are commonly associated with this symptom. Work with your doctor or other health care professional for an accurate diagnosis.

May 24, 2013