Skip to main content

A cough will usually clear up on its own within 3 to 4 weeks.

Could it be coronavirus (COVID-19)?

A new, continuous cough could be COVID-19.

Get advice about symptoms of COVID-19 and what to do

There's usually no need to see a GP.

You should:

You could also try:

But there's limited evidence to show these work.

How to make a hot lemon and honey drink
  1. Squeeze half a lemon into a mug of boiled water.
  2. Add 1 to 2 teaspoons of honey.
  3. Drink while still warm (do not give hot drinks to small children).

Hot lemon with honey has a similar effect to cough medicines.

If you have a cough, you can ask a pharmacist about:

These will not stop your cough, but may help you cough less.

Decongestants and cough medicines containing codeine will not stop your cough.

To find out what's causing your cough, the GP might:


Antibiotics are not normally prescribed for coughs. A GP will only prescribe them if you need them – for example, if you have a bacterial infection or you're at risk of complications.

Most coughs are caused by a cold or flu.

Other causes include:

A cough is rarely a sign of something serious like lung cancer.