But if your cough has been lingering for longer than you can remember, do not expect it to simply run its course sans intervention. "A cough that goes beyond three weeks and definitely beyond eight weeks is considered chronic, and may no longer be attributable to a time-limited infection. Tung.
The Most Common Reasons for a Chronic Cough
Symptoms: If you have a cough that's wet (mucus / congestion in your lungs in your cough) and you feel the congestion dripping from your sinuses down the back in the airway , then you know you've got a post-nasal drip, says Angela C. Argento. M.D., interventional pulmonologist at Northwestern Memorial Hospital.  How to treat it: First line of defense? "Nasal sprays that can contain steroids or just saline (salt water) or treatments to clear the sinuses, such as sinus rinse or Neti pot, "Dr. Argento says. In severe cases, you may require a procedure with an ear, nose and throat doctor to address the issue, along with antibiotics, she adds.
2. Acid reflux
Symptoms: If you've had a persistent dry cough and it's been by heartburn, then acid reflux could be the cause. "Acid reflux creates a burning feeling in the center of your chest just under the rib cage and upwards," says Dr , Argento.
How it's treated: Use acid suppressants (like Pepcid AC or Zantac) once or twice a day, typically before breakfast and / or dinner, to prevent acid reflux, she says.
. 3 Asthma
Symptoms: If the only symptom you have is a dry cough, it could be asthma. "With asthma, your cough might be worse with exercise, exposure to cold, or certain smells or chemicals," says Dr. Argento. Symptoms like chest tightness, shortness of breath, and wheezing are clues that it's asthma at play, dr. Argento explains.
How it's treated : "Asthma is typically treated with inhaler medications, but some patients with severe asthma may need steroids, biologic agents (a new injectable asthma medication), or a procedure called bronchial thermoplasty, "says Dr. Argento.
. 4 Chronic bronchitis
Symptoms: If you have had a cough for at least three months of the year for two years in a row, then you may have chronic bronchitis; Argento. Other symptoms include shortness of breath or phlegm production.
How are they treated: treatments for chronic bronchitis, "she says. "Flare-ups are treated with antibiotics and steroids, as well as supplemental oxygen if needed."
Symptoms: If you've got a deep breath in it, it's probably pneumonia, says dr. Argento. "Most people also want to have fever, possibly a sore throat, and fatigue or weakness."  How it's treated: Pneumonia can be caused by bacteria, viruses, or fungus and the treatment will vary depending on the cause. Pneumonia caused by bacteria can be treated with antibiotics; viral pneumonia wants to resolve with hydration, rest, and supportive care; fungal pneumonia (seen in immune-compromised patients) is treated with antifungal medications. Argento.
At What Point Should You Take Your Cough Seriously?
Chronic coughs may be due to super-disruptive symptoms like sleep loss, lightheadedness, and even rib fractures, according to the Mayo Clinic-so they're worth taking seriously.
"weight loss", "weight loss", "weight loss", "weight loss", "weight loss" fever, night sweats, shortness of breath, or wheezing. Argento.
While rare, your cough may signal on even more serious health issue, including whooping cough or even cancer, she adds. So if you're worried that your cough may be something more serious, it's always best to check in with your doctor.