Strong cough: when does it become dangerous?

Starker Husten: Wann wird es gefährlich?

You may know the feeling: you wake up and have to cough hard first. Or maybe you don't have it in the morning at all, but at some other time during the day. Your throat hurts afterwards and you feel uncomfortable. Sometimes there is also some fear, because you don't know whether you are sick now and whether you should go to the doctor. Also, you don't know if it's something serious or just temporary.

In today's article we want to enlighten you and hopefully put your mind at ease. So it is not always necessary to run straight to the hospital when a strong cough occurs. The important thing is that you stay calm, analyze the facts and then make a decision. Of course, it can be an advantage, especially for your mood, to ask your family doctor. Read this article and make up your own mind.

the essentials in brief

  • Acute cough lasts up to three weeks. Coughing for more than 8 weeks means you have a health problem.
  • A dry cough is less severe than a wet and severe cough
  • If you have a persistent or recurring strong cough, you should definitely see a doctor

Definition: What is a severe cough?

What do we classify as a severe cough and what is a “normal” cough. The difference is actually clear relatively quickly. A normal cough feels normal and doesn't come often or recur. It can occur, for example, when you've walked through fine dust and inhaled very little of it, or when you've caught a cold .

A severe cough is significantly stronger and may even hurt you. You may be approached by friends or asked if everything is okay. A strong cough is also rather annoying and penetrating and very important: it does not go away on its own!

Background: What you should know about a strong cough?

Now it's time to get down to business! We break down the ins and outs of a bad cough and answer your most pressing questions. It is important to mention that this article does not replace a trip to the doctor.

A strong cough is only worrying from about 2 months

If you read through the answers and aren't satisfied or don't find what you want, then definitely get your cough checked. That's the only way you can be sure it's nothing serious!

Why do some people get stronger coughs?

The easiest way to answer this question is to ask whether this person smokes or not. Smokers often get faster and stronger coughs than non-smokers. This is because the airways can be easily inflamed. In addition to smokers, sick coughs can occur, both during and after the illness.

If you have a cough that lasts longer than 8 weeks, you should see a doctor. You can also get a cough as a side effect of medication or when vessels in your lungs have blocked. However, these two variants are less common.

When is a strong cough really strong (dangerous to health)?

A bad cough is really bad if you can take long-term damage from it. In the worst case, death could even result. But don't worry, this is really only very, very rarely the case. Much more often you have been infected with something and your airways are blocked. For example, this can be mucus that flows down the throat.

Woman is sick in bed

A severe cough can keep you awake into the morning hours. (Image Source: Andrea Piacquadio / Pexels)

A severe cough associated with bronchitis, i.e. inflammation of the lower respiratory tract, is hazardous to health. It creates thicker mucus that your body wants to cough up. This doesn't work at first, but as the healing progresses, the cough can be positive. Incidentally, bronchitis can be counteracted with completely natural medicinal herbs.

Why do you get a strong cough at night?

This can be explained by the fact that you form less mucus at night. So you cough dry and also stronger. Coughing can be caused by smoking or exposure to other chemicals. If you are also allergic to something, then this is also a possible cause. The worst thing about your night cough is that it keeps you awake and it messes with your nerves!

Prevent coughing by changing your sleeping position or changing the climate in your bedroom. Air your room well before bed, or even sleep with the window open if the street noise doesn't bother you. You can also put a humidifier in the room, because dry air in particular leads to coughing. You should also turn down your heating at night, this also draws air into the room that you don't want.

When should you go to the doctor with your cough?

You should see a doctor if your cough lasts longer than 4 weeks. You can also wait a little longer, but the guideline is around 4 weeks. If you cough up sputum or even blood, you must go to the doctor immediately!

Sputum isn't necessarily dangerous, but if it's yellow in color then it could be related to asthma or a more severe cold. Better to be safe and get the doctor involved. Coughing up blood is very unhealthy, hopefully you realize that without reading this article, and you should contact your doctor immediately.

How does the doctor make a diagnosis?

The doctor will listen to your airways and based on that, see what's going on in your windpipe. He'll also look down your throat and may insert a small camera so he can see more.

Strong cough: The best tips & tricks to keep you healthy

It is important that you notice your strong cough and do not ignore it. That's the only way you can make sure it goes away eventually. Here are a few tips and tricks that will potentially help you.

How to deal with a strong cough?

Very simple: you observe how your cough behaves and based on that you draw your conclusion. If the severe cough persists for a long time, we are talking about weeks, then you go to the doctor. Smoking less or quitting altogether definitely helps.

What helps against strong cough

There are three different ways that are universally known and accepted to help your bad cough go away. We want to bring you closer to the three. You then have to decide for yourself what you want to try and what not. What also helps, by the way, is strengthening your immune system .


Various medicines can help with a severe cough. Acetylcysteine ​​is one of them. It helps loosen the phlegm that occurs with a strong cough, making it thinner. You'll often cough up the phlegm better that way.

tablets and capsules

Medicines help to cough up mucus more easily. There are a number of different drugs with different effects and active ingredients. (Image source: Pixabay / Pexels)

Bromhexine is another drug that helps thin mucus because it stimulates the glands to produce more. Tyloxapol causes the mucus deposits to be loosened. This will reduce your cough. Of course, there are a bunch of other medicines that can help you with a bad cough. Your doctor or pharmacist can advise you on this.


These should only be prescribed if bacteria have caused bronchitis. In addition, antibiotics must then be taken consistently. Many feel that you can throw in a few antibiotics and you'll be fine. Unfortunately, a strong cough doesn't work that way. It can take up to two weeks for you to recover.

Home remedies (herbs, etc.)

Eucalyptus, sage, or mint are good expectorants, as well as helping to reduce inflammation and encourage expectoration. This includes sage, basil, thyme, and even chamomile tea can help out . This is because they all contain cineole, which contributes to the healing effects. For example, another natural remedy is saponin, which is found in ivy.

In addition to the active ingredients mentioned above, ivy can also have an anticonvulsant effect. A spasm could also occur if a severe cough occurs. However, this differs from person to person. There are other natural remedies you can take if you have a bad cough. It is best to find out more from your pharmacy or look online to see what information you can find.


So, now we have brought you closer to what exactly a strong cough is and how it can occur. You also know how to counteract this, either with medicine or natural remedies. If your cough is severe or you have been coughing for a long time, try to remember when it started. If it's been a while, then it's time you went to the doctor.

In conclusion, coughing and even severe coughing is not a cause for concern. A severe cough is often not serious and can also be treated very well. The only important thing, as mentioned above, is that you perceive it as such. As with many non-life-threatening diseases: stay calm, analyze the facts and then act!


  1. What is cough?
  2. Classen, Diehl, Kochsiek: Internal medicine, Elsevier, Urban & Fischer Verlag, 6th edition
  3. Gerd Herold and employees: Internal Medicine, Cologne Gerd Herold 2017
  4. What helps against cough? Source
  5. What is bronchitis exactly? What is the difference with coughing? Source
  6. Why do I cough at night? Source
  7. When is cough dangerous? Source
  8. Antibiotics for Bronchitis Source
  9. Information on bronchitis and what helps against it Source
  10. What helps against cough? Source
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1 comment

Vielen Dank für diesen informativen Artikel zum Thema Husten! Es ist gut zu wissen, dass starker Husten normalerweise nichts Ernstes ist. Die Tipps und Tricks am Ende waren sehr hilfreich. Ich werde definitiv versuchen, meine Schlafposition zu ändern und ein Luftbefeuchter ins Zimmer zu stellen. Hat jemand noch andere bewährte Hausmittel gegen Husten? Vielen Dank im Voraus!


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