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Coughs, Age 12 and Older (cont.)

Prevention

There is no sure way to prevent a cough. To help reduce your risk:

  • Wash your hands frequently during the cold and flu season. This helps prevent the spread of a virus that may cause a cold or influenza.
  • Avoid people who have a cold or influenza if possible.
  • Don't smoke or use other forms of tobacco. A dry, hacking "smoker's cough" means your lungs are constantly irritated. For more information, see the topic Quitting Smoking.
  • Avoid exposure to secondhand smoke, both at home and in the workplace.
  • Increase your fluid intake. This helps keep the mucus thin and helps you cough it up. It also helps prevent dehydration.
  • Get a flu shot (influenza vaccine) each year. For more information, see the topic Influenza (Seasonal Flu).
  • Get a pneumococcal shot if you are age 65 or older; if you have chronic lung disease, such as asthma or chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD); if you smoke; or if you have a health risk that increases the seriousness of your symptoms.
  • Make sure your immunizations are current, such as pertussis to reduce your risk of getting whooping cough. For more information, see the topic Immunizations.

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