The first set of German guidelines for diagnosis and treatment of patients suffering from acute or chronic cough was published in 2004. Scientific developments over the past five years necessitate an update. The purpose of this document is to assist in ascertaining underlying causes and treating cough, in order to eliminate or minimize impairments of patients' health. The guidelines aim to introduce scientifically founded, evidence-based steps for the diagnosis and treatment of cough and optimize cost-effectiveness. Recommendations are assessed through the GRADE system (The Grades of Recommendation, Assessment, Development and Evaluation). Cough as a symptom is categorized as either acute (lasting up to 8 weeks) or chronic (lasting more than 8 weeks) and attributed to distinct diseases. For acute and chronic cough the diagnostic algorithms are updated; cost effectiveness is also taken into account. Additionally, the most frequent diagnostic errors are highlighted. Finally, available therapeutic options are discussed.