Coughing can be maddening, from that first tickle in your throat to dealing with the stuff that might come up with each heave. Having a persistent cough can be especially worrisome, though, and make you wonder when it's time to drag yourself to the doctor. Here’s when you might want to wait it out and when you should check in with a medical professional ASAP.
First, know that coughing here and there is totally normal. Also, your idea of what even counts as a “persistent” cough might be a little skewed.
Coughing is your body's way of trying to eject irritants and secretions like mucus from your lungs, according to the Mayo Clinic. Although dealing with a cough for even a week can feel like for-ev-er, you have to surmount a pretty high bar in order to have a persistent cough: Doctors don’t actually consider a cough chronic until it lasts for eight weeks or more, according to the Mayo Clinic.