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Identifying 15 Common Causes of a Persistent Cough

A persistent cough can be a nuisance, causing discomfort and interrupting daily life. While often caused by a common cold or flu virus, a cough that lasts for more than a week can indicate a more serious underlying condition.

In this article, we will explore the common causes of a persistent cough and the associated symptoms to help you determine when to seek medical attention. Knowing the potential causes of a cough and when to seek help can lead to improved health outcomes and a better quality of life. Fortunately, you can learn everything you need to know about the most common causes of a persistent cough with a search online right now.

Post Nasal Drip

When seasonal allergies are high, it is common to experience post-nasal drip (phlegm or mucus draining down the back of the throat from the sinus cavities) that can cause a dry, scratchy cough.

The Common Cold or Flu

The flu virus or a cold can result in a nagging cough due to a buildup of mucus in the throat or chest. If untreated, these conditions can lead to bronchitis, pneumonia, or sinusitis.


Smoking tobacco products can lead to an irritating cough as well as lung damage over the long term.


Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) or acid reflux can result in chronic coughing due to stomach acid irritating the throat and esophagus.

Bronchial Illness or Infection

A dry, hacking cough can indicate bronchitis or another respiratory infection.


A recurring cough, wheezing, chest tightness, and shortness of breath are common signs of asthma, which restricts airflow in the lungs.

Environmental Dust or Chemicals

Exposure to dust, chemicals, or fumes can irritate the airways and cause a cough.

Lung Disease

Chronic lung diseases, such as chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), can cause lung restriction, mucus buildup, and persistent coughing.


Certain prescription medications, such as angiotensin converting enzyme (ACE) inhibitors, can cause a chronic cough.

Blocked Airways

A cough can indicate a blocked airway due to swallowing a large piece of food or inhaling an object.


Pneumonia can cause a persistent cough and mucus production that may persist for weeks.


Tuberculosis (TB) can cause a persistent cough, lasting two weeks or longer, and may result in coughing up blood or phlegm.


Laryngitis is an inflammation of the voice box that can cause a dry cough.

Whooping Cough

Whooping cough is a bacterial disease that can cause a violent cough and difficulty breathing.

Heart Failure

Coughing and shortness of breath can indicate heart failure, which can cause a buildup of fluid in the lungs.

Find Help Today!

A persistent cough can indicate a range of health conditions, from allergies to lung disease, and can be a sign of something more serious. Understanding the common causes of coughing and associated symptoms can help determine the appropriate course of action to address the issue.

It’s important to seek medical attention if you have a persistent cough that lasts longer than a week or is accompanied by other concerning symptoms. By knowing the common causes of a persistent cough, you can take steps to improve your health and wellbeing.