If you’re like most Americans, you head to the doctor for antibiotics when a hacking cough persists more than a week. But a new study published in the Annals of Internal Medicine shows that we should be much more patient when it comes to coughing. The average acute cough (caused by a common cold, or other respiratory illness—like bronchitis) actually last for a whopping 18 days—and there’s no prescription medication that can shorten that time frame.
So if you’ve been coughing for seven or eight days, don’t fret. Keep drinking tea, and resting your voice. In just about a week-and-a-half you should be feeling better. If your cough lasts for four weeks—that’s right, four weeks–see your doctor.
Check out advice on 11 other common symptoms.