How To Deal With That Nagging Cough
If youre dealing with a nagging cough that is lingering for days, weeks or months, youre not alone.
Coughing is one of the most frequent reasons patients see doctors, and it ranks in the top five reasons patients come to see us at the Ear, Nose and Throat and Allergy Clinic, said Christine Franzese, MD, an allergist with University of Missouri Health Care.
Coughing is part of the bodys defense against disease. It pushes out bacteria, mucus and foreign particles from the respiratory tract to protect the lungs from infection and inflammation. While coughing has a purpose, it can also cause its share of problems.
It can disrupt your sleep, affect school and work performance, it can even prevent people from being socially active or going places because they are so self-conscious, Franzese said.
A physician can diagnose the cause of the cough and identify the proper treatment. There are many reasons for lasting coughs. The most common causes for nonsmokers are postnasal drip, asthma, gastroesophageal reflux disease , chronic bronchitis and use of angiotensin-converting enzyme inhibitors for high blood pressure. Smoking is the primary cause of chronic coughing that can lead to more serious health problems, such as bronchitis, emphysema, pneumonia and lung cancer.
The Difference In Duration Of Symptoms
Typically, a cold lasts for around seven to 10 days, with the most severe symptoms beginning to improve after a few days. Allergies, however, if left untreated, will cause symptoms for as long as the allergen is present. So, if your cough doesnt start to get better after a week, your symptoms may not be caused by a cold.
Asthma, on the other hand, can come and go quickly. Attacks may come on suddenly and subside quickly. Mild episodes may last for minutes, but more serious attacks can last for days.
What Should Be The Treatment For Allergic Cough
The treatment for allergic cough depends on the root cause behind the allergic reactions.
Priyanka wanted to know, How to get rid of a cough from allergies?
Dr Mayank emphasises, The only way to get rid of allergic cough is to identify the allergy
Your doctor may advise skin test or blood tests to identify the allergy you have. If needed, a lung-function test, chest x-ray or bronchoscopy may also be required to rule out other causes of persistent cough.
The best way to treat or limit allergic cough is to avoid the allergy-triggering factor.
Priyanka was advised a skin test to figure out the cause behind allergic cough. According to her test results, she was allergic to pollens as she had suspected.
People with allergic cough may require long-term maintenance therapy with an anti-inflammatory agent. Besides this, the right protection from allergy-triggering element is also very helpful.
In rare cases where anti-allergy medicines arent as helpful, steroids may be advised.
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Can Allergies Cause A Cough Cold And Allergies
Since cold and allergies have been mistaken for each other every time someone starts coughing, then we certainly need to clear up what exactly cold and allergies are. The first thing we need to focus on is their causes. Both have different causes, you can only get a cold when a living organism such as a virus gets into your body. This way your body activates its immune system to counterattack which leads to you having cold-like symptoms such as a fever or stuffed up nose. Viruses that have the ability to give you a cold is contagious so you can get them from people who are infected through a cough or sneeze etc.
Allergies are a little different. People who are allergic to things have an overactive immune system. Your body keeps on mistaking things like dust or pollen as a virus. Due to this, they release a chemical called histamine that swells up your noses passageway resulting in you getting symptoms like sneezing or coughing.
No : A Cough Is A Defense Mechanism
A cough is the bodys way of defending itself, Dr. Cameron explains. If you have a runny nose and some congestion, you might get post-nasal drip, which can irritate the bronchioles and cause coughing, she says. Coughing is a way to clear the lungs and expel mucus.
Carl R. Baum, MD, a pediatric emergency physician, agrees. Coughing is good, he says. Parents get freaked out when their kid has a really bad cough, but it’s the bodys normal way of protecting itself. It keeps our lungs clear.
Dr. Cameron reads a book to her patient to put her at ease.
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How To Treat An Allergy Cough At Home
Some ways to treat an allergy cough at home include:
- Taking over-the-counter medications: Allergy medicines, such as antihistamines, nasal sprays, and decongestants, can help reduce the inflammation and mucus production that can lead to a cough.
- Using a humidifier or inhaling steam from a shower:Humidifiers can help clear congestion and soothe throat irritation.
- Using an air purifier: A high-quality air purifier can help reduce the number of allergens and irritants in the air inside a persons home or office space.
- Taking prescription medications: Nasal sprays and antihistamines can help alleviate an allergic cough affecting the upper respiratory tract. Inhalers are usually needed to treat an allergic cough affecting the lower airways.
Symptoms: What Does An Allergy Cough Feel Like
Allergy-related cough is typically a “dry” cough, meaning you probably won’t cough up any mucus or phlegm. It can become chronic, lasting for several weeks at a time. Coughing can occur with several different conditions and illnesses. You’ll likely see a specialist, such as an allergist, for specific testing to diagnose your allergies.
Although coughing occurs with a variety of medical conditions, allergy cough occurs with other allergy symptoms, including:
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Symptoms For Serious Chihuahua Cough
Chihuahuas, like humans, cough to get rid of germs, dust, and other foreign objects in their lungs. However, chihuahua might also get viruses or infections that could cause more serious coughing.
There are a few symptoms to take note of that might indicate your chihuahuas coughing is more than just a common cold.
Can Allergies Cause Coughing
Yes. Coughing is often a sign that you have a virus or an infection, like a cold or the flu. But it also can be caused by allergies. If you dont have an illness but have a chronic cough longer than three weeks, the American College of Allergy, Asthma, and Immunology1 states that it could be allergies.
If you notice that you cough more at certain times of the year, like during spring or fall, or when youre in a specific setting, such as a damp basement or a home with a cat or dog, allergies may be to blame.
How do allergies trigger coughing?
Allergies cause your body to make extra mucus called postnasal drip. This additional mucus trickles down your throat from your nose, often leaving you with a scratchy throat and dry cough.
You may also have other symptoms that go hand-in-hand with allergies, including:
- Itchy and watery eyes
- Dark circles under your eyes
Removing allergens like dust, pet dander, mold, pollen, and smoke from your home may help. If not, it might be time to look at other options.
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Just Curious: Why Do We Cough Anyway
“The purpose of a cough is to help us,” says Monica Lee, MD, an otolaryngologist at Massachusetts Eye and Ear. Its your bodys way of trying to expel something it perceives as a threat in the airway, she says.
Those perceived threats can be a bunch of different things: a piece of food stuck in your throat, pollen, air pollution, or swelling or drainage from extra mucus in your throat. All those things irritate the sensory fibers in your airway, which then stimulate a cough.
As for what exactly happens in your body during a cough? It’s kind of complex, says Dr. Lee. Basically, your vocal chords close briefly to generate pressure in the lungs. Once enough pressure is built up, your vocal chords open back up, and air flows quickly through your voice box, which generates that coughing sound. Kinda cool, huh?
What Are The Symptoms Of Allergy Cough
The symptoms of allergic cough depend on what caused it.
Broadly speaking, the symptoms of allergy cough may include:
- Dry cough or cough with mucus which may manifest in certain settings like during pollen-heavy season or in presence of animals
- Congestion of nose and throat
These symptoms may be triggered by seasonal changes or occupational and environmental factors like pollutants. They may also differ in intensity from one day to the next depending on the presence of the irritant, says Dr Mayank.
In her consultation, Priyanka revealed that she experienced a cough with mucus, sneezing and congestion, which made her feel weak and tired.
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How Can I Tell If My Cough Is Allergies
While allergies can be life threatening, your typical seasonal allergies come and go with minor annoyance without being a threat to anyone else. But COVID-19 is a whole other story. The virus can spread easily and can be dangerous to specific at-risk populations.
The differences can be subtle. While they all have similar symptoms, how those symptoms are experienced can usually tip you off, Dr. Kocur said.
|· Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing|
|· Vomiting||· Sore throat|
COVID-19 will typically be severe for a few days, including multiple symptoms, Dr. Kocur said. With seasonal allergies, the symptoms tend to remain consistent for several weeks or as long as you are exposed to the irritant.
Dr. Kocur said you can usually track your seasonal allergies from year to year as pollen or other irritants are released into the air. However, it is possible to develop a new allergy or encounter a new allergen at any age or time.
Cough Cough Sneeze Sniffle: Allergies Or Covid
If you’re an allergy sufferer, the arrival of warmer days not only signals the coming of spring, but it also means the onset of runny noses, sneezing and sniffles. If you haven’t already, you’ve probably found yourself asking, how do I know for certain if my symptoms are due to allergies or COVID-19?
“It can be a tricky question,” says Christie Barnes, MD, Nebraska Medicine otolaryngologist. “The key is to determine whether you are having additional symptoms on top of your normal allergy symptoms.”
This Q& A answers common questions you may have this fall as you manage your allergies and concerns about COVID-19.
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Diagnosing A Hay Fever Cough
When you have an infection, the mucus in your body starts to thicken due to the presence of a virus or bacteria. The type of mucus youre producing can help your doctor tell the difference between a hay fever cough and an infection. If you have thin mucus, as opposed to thick mucus that is difficult to cough up, allergies are usually to blame.
Your doctor will likely ask you about your symptoms as well as what makes them worse or better and when you started noticing them.
Wild Cherry Bark Syrup
Wild cherry bark syrup is another popular natural remedy for chihuahuas with a cough. The syrup contains an extract from the wild cherry tree that has been used for centuries to treat coughs and colds.
The syrup is full of antioxidants and anti-inflammatory compounds that can help soothe your chihuahuas throat and reduce the severity of the cough.
To give your chihuahua wild cherry bark syrup, mix 1 teaspoon of the syrup with 1 tablespoon of water. Give your chihuahua the mixture 3 times per day until the cough improves.
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How Did My Dog Get Kennel Cough At Home
If you suspect your dogs hacking cough is kennel cough, you may wonder how he caught it. The name is misleading, as it implies your dog only catches it when you put him in a boarding kennel.
However, kennel cough is a very contagious disease. It is also airborne. Your doctor of veterinary medicine will tell you that a sick dog can spread it via any shared object.
This includes water and food bowls or toys.
What Kind Of Cough Can An Allergy Induce
Coughs from allergies often take the form of a chronic dry cough. Its the type of dry cough that lasts for more than three weeks.
The dry in dry cough refers to how the coughing doesnt produce mucus. Instead, you may feel like something is tickling the back of your throat. This sensation usually triggers the cough reflex, resulting in hacking coughs.
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Maintain Optimal Indoor Humidity Levels
While the best air purifiers can destroy fungi, its still best to address humidity issues at home. Thats because high levels of humidity can trigger ongoing mold or fungi growth. The spores they release, in turn, can trigger your allergy and make you cough.
Besides, having high indoor humidity levels often indicate moisture problems. You may have water leaks at home that not only waste water and money but can also damage your property. Indeed, the average home in the US have leaks that waste 10,000 gallons of water each year!
Do note that low humidity can also trigger reactions, as it can make the air too dry. Dry air can exacerbate allergies or asthma, so it can also lead to coughing fits.
Allergic Bronchitis Vs Acute Bronchitis
Bronchitis may be caused by allergies or by an infection and its main symptom is coughing. Germs are the of cause acute bronchitis, which usually lasts from a few days to a few weeks conversely, chronic allergic bronchitis may last several weeks or months.
With bronchitis there is also mucus production, which is clear or whitish when its chronic or due to allergies, while it is green or yellow when it is due to an infection. Moreover, acute bronchitis generally causes fever too, which is not present in chronic or allergic bronchitis.
Chronic allergic bronchitis may be caused by the exposure to allergens like pollen and dust, and may worsen with pollution chronic cough may also have other causes.
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Are There Conventional Medicines To Help Me
As seasonal allergies is the cause of your cough, a doctor or pharmacist is likely to recommend anti-histamines to lessen your bodys reaction to pollen. This in turn may help to ease your cough. However, the body can develop immunity to such medicines, and thus they should only be used on a short-term basis.
There are various types of cough medicines and syrups available, some of which act as suppressants, and others which act as expectorants to release fluid from the lungs. Your pharmacist will be able to advise a cough remedy suitable for your condition.
What Is Causing My Allergic Cough
Coughing is a natural reflex to irritants disrupting the ecosystem of your respiratory passage. But, like many other reflexes, a cough is a one-time affair that wanes once the nuisance is gone.
However, a chronic cough frequently implies a need to understand the causes further.
Allergic cough is one such cause. On the one hand, it can result when exposure to allergens is continuous . On the other, it can be seasonal, flaring up when new allergens are present in the surroundings .
In this Article
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Questions To Ask Your Doctor
- Could anything else, such as a cold or the flu, be causing my symptoms?
- How do I figure out what Im allergic to?
- Is my allergy seasonal?
- I am allergic to _____. Am I at risk for any other allergies?
- What changes can I make at home to relieve my symptoms?
- Will any over-the counter medicines relieve my symptoms?
- What should I do if my symptoms get worse or dont respond to the treatment youve prescribed?
- Do I need to see an allergy specialist ?
Diagnosing Colds And Allergies
You dont need to see your doctor for a cold, but if you do make an appointment, your symptoms will likely be enough for them to confirm your diagnosis.
For allergies, you may need to see a primary care doctor, an ear-nose-throat doctor, or an allergist. The doctor will first ask about your symptoms. Severe or life-threatening allergic reactions often require the care of an allergy specialist.
A variety of tests can be used to diagnose allergies. A skin test can be used to determine your allergy triggers. Sometimes primary doctors or allergy specialists may also use blood tests to diagnose allergies depending on your age and other health conditions.
About Author: David Pruitt
David Pruitt is a writer for the Marketing & Communications division of OSF HealthCare. He has a bachelors of journalism from Southern Illinois University Edwardsville and worked as a reporter before joining OSF HealthCare in 2014. An avid golfer and fisherman, David was born and raised Alton, Illinois, which is where he currently resides with his son, James.
How To Prevent A Cough From Allergies With These Precautions
- Avoid getting close to sick people
- Get rid of or stay away from irritants such as scented sprays and perfumes
- Drinking plenty of water and natural juices will help you to get rid of persistent cough allergies
- Always blow your nose than a sniffle. It will help you to get rid of stuffy nose dry cough allergies
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