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Cough is a protective reflex action that helps clear the throat of mucus, irritants, microorganisms, and foreign objects. A cough that lasts less than three weeks is called an acute cough, and the cough that lasts longer is called chronic cough. Cough can be due to infectious causes like common cold, sinusitis, bronchitis, pneumonia, and whooping cough. And the non-infectious causes include emphysema, asthma, and allergies. Some of the other conditions that can cause cough are smoking, medications (ACE inhibitors), vocal cord damage, postnasal drip, and gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD). If you cough up blood or have a fever, chest pain, confusion, and headaches, consult a doctor immediately.