Self-help guide: Cough

Find out more about coughs in adults, when you can use self-care, and what to do if your cough worsens and you need medical help. Most coughs clear up within 3 weeks and don't require any treatment. A dry cough means it's tickly and doesn't produce any phlegm (thick mucus). A chesty cough means phlegm is produced to help clear your airways.