A cough is your body's natural way of clearing the windpipe and bronchial tubes of secretion. It can also be a response to various environmental irritants such as pollution or tobacco smoke. A good preventative measure is to invest in a good air cleaner or filter to remove irritants from household air. A humidifier can also help; moist air is less irritating than dry air. If the cough is accompanied by normal symptoms of a cold or the flu, it can be expected to go away when the rest of the symptoms do. But when a cough becomes chronic, lasting for a week or more, or accompanied by a fever, it could be a sign of more serious troubles ranging from a congenital lung condition to tuberculosis. The safest course of action is to have an ear, nose and throat specialist take a complete examination to determine the cause of the cough. Many of these conditions can be treated with antibiotics. If not, an appropriate treatment program can be applied. See a doctor for a more thorough analysis of your chronic cough.