Honey and over-the-counter medicines should be the first line of treatment for most people with coughs as recommended by new guidelines.
Antibiotics should rarely be prescribed by doctors for coughs because in most cases they do little to improve symptoms, health officials say.
Most of the time a cough will improve on its own within two to three weeks.
The new recommendations for doctors are intended to help tackle the problem of antibiotic resistance.
Overusing antibiotics is making infections harder to treat, by creating drug-resistant superbugs.