When a cough lasts more than a week most of us think we need an antibiotic. Experts from the University of Georgia explained that acute bronchitis (an acute illness with hacking cough) can last for weeks.

Annals of Family Medicineantibiotics

They found that patients expect their cough to be resolved within one week to up to a maximum of nine days. In reality, a bronchial illness (which includes coughing) takes an average of 18 days to clear up.



Antibiotics are ineffective against coughs caused by a cold virus

Very persistent coughs may be a sign of something more serious

“We know from clinical trials there is very little, if any, benefit to antibiotic treatments for acute cough because most of these illnesses are caused by a virus. Among patients who receive antibiotics, about half of those will be very broad spectrum antibiotics that have the potential to increase antibiotic resistance. These are antibiotics that would be nice to still have around when we actually need them, like for someone who may have pneumonia.”

If patients are being prescribed antibiotics when they do not yet need them, there is a much greater risk of bacterial resistance