Most people recover within 2 weeks. In a study of children aged 6 months to 12 years, 26% still had symptoms 7 days from onset and 6% after 14 days.[88] Cough is the most common persistent symptom, lasting from 15.3 to 28.6 days.[89] It is important to advise patients of this to reduce their expectations of a quick improvement and pre-empt a visit seeking additional treatment (e.g., antibiotics). Recurrence is common, although it is not clear whether the causative pathogen is the same virus, a subtype, or a different pathogen altogether.

The most challenging part of the consultation is often the negotiation about diagnosis and treatment options, and antibiotics in particular. It should be emphasised that symptoms do not resolve immediately.

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