What can be done to prevent the symptom?
Preventing a cough depends on what is causing it. Avoiding smoking, for example, can prevent smoker's cough. Early treatment of gastroesophageal reflux and congestive heart failure can prevent coughing from these conditions or from the medication prescribed for them. Many cases of coughing cannot be prevented, but they can be treated.
What are the long-term effects of the symptom?
A cough that is severe can be annoying and prevent sleep and other activities. Most long-term effects are related to the underlying cause. For example, those who have lung cancer as the cause of their cough may die. Those who have acute bronchitis usually get better within a few weeks and have no long-term effects at all.
What are the risks to others?
If the cause of a cough is a bacterial or viral infection, the person can spread these germs to others.