Saturday, February 17, 2024

Can Cough Be An Allergy

How Can You Tell That You Have An Allergy Cough

Allergy Symptoms & Treatments : How to Treat Cough From Allergies

In order to tell whether you have an allergy cough, its important to check what type is it. Allergies trigger a dry or wet cough even though after nasal dripping, theres usually a dry cough. There is also a third kind of cough which is the chronic cough that lasts at least 3 weeks. This is a major sign of an allergy. A cold cough never lasts more than 14 days so if your coughing exceeds this number, you definitely have an allergy cough. Another thing that sets it apart from a cold is the fever. If you have no fever then you definitely have been exposed to an allergen thats caused this coughing symptom.

If youre still confused about it then you should ask yourself questions like when did you start coughing? Do you feel any fever or aches in your body? How long have you been coughing? All of these will bring everything into perspective for you.

Cough: Allergies Or Covid

A cough can cause anxiety these days. It can be easy to start you thinking the worst. And you only need to clear your throat in the grocery store to draw the attention of other patrons. But a cough is not always an illness.

Yes, allergies can also cause coughing. Along with the typical sneezing, congestion, itchy eyes and hives, allergens, especially hay fever allergens, can irritate the throat and lungs and cause us to cough. The allergen causes a post-nasal drip that travels down your throat, causing irritation that can lead to a persistent dry cough. Its still something you should have checked out because a cough could also be a symptom of asthma.

Allergies occur when the body sees a harmless substance, such as pollen or cat dander, as a threat, said Robert Kocur, MD, allergist with OSF HealthCare. In response, the immune system builds antibodies to fight off the threatening substance.

Allergies are some of the most common chronic health conditions in the world and can affect anyone. Generally, allergies are more common in children but can happen at any age. Allergies may also go away and can come back after years of remission.

Why Allergies May Cause A Cough

A cough is your bodys reflex to an allergen or irritant in your throat or airway.

Allergies can also cause a cough due to postnasal drip.

Normally, mucus in your sinuses drains through your nose.

But if your sinuses are swollen due to allergies and cant drain, mucus may drip into your throat and trigger a cough.

Its also common for people with seasonal allergies to experience postnasal drip at night when theyre lying in bed.

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How To Treat An Allergy Cough

Oral antihistamines are the first-line treatment for allergy symptoms, blocking the underlying mechanisms that can lead to an allergy cough.

Second-generation antihistamines are the preferred option because they are less likely to cause drowsiness. With that said, first-generation antihistamines like Benadryl may be a good option before bedtime if allergy symptoms are interfering with sleep.

To treat the cough itself, you can consider the following options:

  • Take an over-the-counter expectorant like Mucinex to loosen phlegm.
  • Use an over-the-counter decongestant Sudafed to open nasal passages.
  • Use a nasal steroid spray like Nasacort to relieve inflammation and ease breathing,
  • Suck on a cough lozenge, especially ones containing eucalyptus.
  • Use a saline nasal spray or irrigation, like a neti pot, to clear nasal passages.
  • Use a humidifier or vaporizer to help moisturize the air.
  • Inhale steam either with a commercial inhaler or a heated pot of water to loosen mucus and ease throat irritation.

How Do I Know My Cough Is From A Cold

How to tell if your sniffles, sneezing, or cough is a simple allergy ...

You know how allergy coughs are typically on the drier side? Coughs from colds tend to be on the wetter side .

Coughs that come along with a cold usually come along with stuffiness, along with postnasal drip , which can cause a sore throat or chest discomfort. A low-grade fever may also signal a cold instead of allergies.

How To Fight A Cold

Colds aren’t as immediate as allergies. Instead, they tend to develop over the course of a few days, says Dr. Bryson.

You can try a few different things to help relieve a cough. Decongestants can work for, well, congestion. And ingredients like dextromethorphan can can help ease the coughing itself. Just make sure you take any products as-directed.

It should be said, however, that a dry cough isn’t always allergies, just like a wet cough isn’t always a cold. Allergies can plague your nose, for example, causing post-nasal drip , while mild colds might not leave you stuffed up enough to produce any phlegm.

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Why Do We Cough

Coughing is basically a response to irritation in your throat or airways. When you feel this irritation your receptors of the trachea, throat, and lungs quickly alert the cough center of your brain. Coughing is a defense mechanism against anything it might think has gotten stuck in your throat, trachea, or lungs. Things like pollen, mucus so can make way for air to easily travel through.

What Are The Triggers For Allergy Or Asthma

Asthma and allergy coughs are caused due to irritation or swelling of the airways. A chronic dry cough can occur due to allergies like hay fever. If you are sensitive to pollen, mold, dust, pet dander or other allergens, then you may also experience a cough. Allergies can worsen asthma symptoms, causing them to become severe.

Here are some common allergy triggers:

  • Dust
  • Smoking
  • Gastroesophageal reflux

Allergists are the best go-to doctors for chronic cough because of their holistic medical approach. They have specific expertise in allergic rhinitis and sinus infections, which cause postnasal drainage leading to chronic cough. Allergists are also experts in treating asthma, which is usually present in 25% of patients with chronic cough. Moreover, they are experienced in dealing with heartburn or GERD, which may cause a cough.

If allergies, asthma and the conditions listed above have been ruled out by your allergist, then your chronic cough may be due to other reasons like:

  • Bronchiectasis

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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.

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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?

Can I Prevent Allergy Symptoms

Dr Andrew Lieber on Chronic Cough and Allergies

If youre suffering from allergy symptoms you can try to limit your exposure to the allergens whenever possible. Some suggestions include:

  • Stay away from cigarette smoke and pets
  • If you have seasonal allergies, you can also keep your windows closed during the peak months when your symptoms flare-up
  • If you do go outside, wear a mask to protect yourself
  • Delegate allergy triggers such as mowing the grass
  • Keep your home or office as clean as possible if you know dust mites are a problem
  • If you have food allergies, avoid those foods
  • Use over-the-counter allergy medications to help control your symptoms
  • Use air conditioning in the car or home
  • Use a dehumidifier to keep the indoor air dry in your house
  • Select a high-efficiency filter for your HVAC unit and follow recommended maintenance to care for these units
  • Clean your home with a vacuum that has a HEPA filter

There are all kinds of over-the-counter medications that you can try. They could potentially help for a time. Nonprescription medications could include:

  • Antihistamines or decongestants
  • Nasal sprays
  • Saline or nasal irrigation

However, you cant always avoid or limit your exposure to the things that cause your allergies, such as pollen, pet dander, or mold. Over-the-counter medications may not alleviate your symptoms. Fortunately, your doctor can help with medications to alleviate your symptoms.

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What Is An Asthma Cough

Asthma is a relatively common condition that creates inflammation in your lungs and airways. This can make it difficult to breathe and cause chest pains. Asthma currently impacts about 25 million Americans,¹ which translates to approximately one out of every 13 people.

One sign of asthma is what is commonly known as asthma cough. To learn more about what it is, who tends to get it, and how it is treated, take a look at our guide below.

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Start With Some Home Remedies For Cold And Allergy Symptoms

When you start feeling icky, some simple home remedies can provide temporary relief. For starters, try to get more rest. Both allergies and colds can cause tiredness, so listen to your body and take it easy.

Also, take advantage of saltwater to soothe irritated nasal passages and scratchy or sore throats.

For your nose, use a neti pot. A neti pot can be picked up at any local drugstore or online, and typically comes with packets to mix with warm, distilled water to create a saltwater solution to pour through your nasal passages.

For your throat, simply mix a quarter or half teaspoon of table salt into an 8-ounce glass of warm water. Take a sip and gargle for a few seconds like you would with mouthwash. Then spit and repeat until the solution is gone. You can do this a couple times a day.

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When To See A Healthcare Provider

An allergy cough may be aggravating but is rarely severe. However, there are situations in which coughing and other breathing problems are a sign of potentially life-threatening, whole-body allergy known as anaphylaxis.

Symptoms of anaphylaxis tend to develop suddenly and severely. If left untreated, anaphylaxis can lead to shock, coma, heart or respiratory failure, and death.

  • Shortness of breath
  • A sudden outbreak of hives or rash
  • Feeling fainting or lightheaded
  • Swelling of the face, neck, or throat
  • A feeling of impending doom

Allergies Follow A Pattern And Symptoms Tend To Stick Around Longer

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If you have allergies, your symptoms will flare up at certain times throughout the year when the allergens youre sensitive to are present. For example, if you have a tree pollen allergy, your symptoms will first appear in the early spring.

This also means that your symptoms can last for several weeks until that particular allergy season has ended. To put that into perspective, colds usually only last about a week.

Cold viruses are present all year, so you can catch one at any time. However, the winter cold season is when getting sick is more likely.

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How To Spot An Allergy Cough

Certain characteristics can help tell allergy related coughs apart from coughing for other reasons. This is what to look out for:

  • Usually a dry cough no clearing mucus from airways or lungs
  • Often with postnasal drip
  • Often worse at night
  • Typically lasts longer than three weeks

A tell-tale sign can be if you have other hay fever symptoms at the same time. For instance, a runny nose or maybe a stuffy nose, sneezing, itchy eyes or dark circles under your eyes. You might also get lower respiratory symptoms like shortness of breath, chest tightness and wheezing.

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.

Also Check: Why Do Allergies Get Worse At Night

So How Can You Tell If Your Cough Is Due To Allergies

First, evaluate the typeof cough you have. Allergies can cause a dry cough or wet cough , Dr. Bassett says, but post-nasal drip typically leads to a dry cough. The AAAI also points to a chronicdry coughmeaning it has lasted for more than three weeksas a sign of allergies.

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You can also determine the difference by looking at the bigger picture and seeing what other symptoms are present, Dr. Bassett says. Seasonal allergies often present with an itchy nose, throat, and eyes, which is pretty uncommon with respiratory illnesses.

And one thing allergies definitely wont cause? A fever, which is typical with viruses that lead to the common cold, flu, and COVID-19. Still not sure? Ask yourself these questions:

  • How did your coughing start? Colds tend to come on slowly, while allergies kick in as soon as youve been exposed to an allergen.
  • Are you itchy? Itchingespecially in your nose, eyes, or throatis a classic sign of allergies.
  • Do you have a fever or body aches? Respiratory illnesses can cause both, but allergies dont.
  • How long have your symptoms lasted? If your symptoms stick around for weeks or even months, allergies are probably to blame.

About Author: David Pruitt

Flu & Allergy Treatments : Treating a Dry Cough

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.

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What Medications Can Cause An Allergy Cough

Ironically, some medications used to treat allergies can also cause cough.

Antihistamines are a class of drugs commonly prescribed to treat allergy symptoms. They work by preventing histamine from attaching to cells and triggering inflammation.

Second-generation antihistamines like Claritin and Zyrtec are able to do this without the drowsiness associated with earlier-generation drugs. However, one of the common side effects of these popular over-the-counter drugs is a cough.

This is because antihistamines have a drying effect that can leave the throat feeling scratchy. Even so, the cough is generally mild and will clear once you stop treatment.

Do I Ever Need To Worry About A Cough

Something important to remember: A coughno matter its causeshouldnt be your norm.

Colds usually run their course within a couple of weeks, which means a cough associated with a cold should go away in about three weeks time , according to the U.S. National Library of Medicine. The length of an allergy-related cough will vary depending on how you’re treating it.

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But if you notice youre still barking after two months of symptoms, see your doc. You could either be dealing with an allergy youre not aware of or potentially suffering from another issue such as asthma , reflux, pneumonia, or bronchitis, says Dr. Bryson.

And if something is bothering you enough to disrupt your life, don’t put off getting it checked out. If nothing else, seeing a doc will give you peace of mind and maybe even speed up your recovery time.

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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
  • Sneezing
  • 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.

How Can Allergy Symptoms Be Treated By A Doctor

Allergic Cough: Is your loud, barking cough caused by pollen?

Allergists, like Dr. Kevin Farnam, MD, are medical doctors who specialize in the treatment of allergies and asthma. These specially trained clinicians can treat your stubborn allergy symptoms by first, diagnosing, and then prescribing medications that can help.

Many mild allergy cases can be treated without seeing a doctor. When allergies interfere with your day-to-day activities, you can take back control of your life by seeing an allergist.

An allergist can treat all kinds of allergy problems including:

  • Allergic rhinitis or hay fever is a reaction that occurs primarily from environmental allergens
  • Anaphylaxis is rare and a potentially fatal allergic reaction caused by triggers such as food, a medication, or an insect sting
  • Asthma is an allergy symptom that causes muscle spasms in a persons breathing airway that blocks air to the lungs
  • Atopic or contact dermatitis are allergies that cause hives or dermatitis on the skin

Visiting an allergist could include:

  • A complete history and physical exam
  • Allergy testing to see what is causing your symptoms
  • Education to help prevent allergies by avoiding them
  • Medication to treat symptoms
  • Allergy shots to alleviate symptoms

You should see an allergist if your allergies are causing chronic sinus infections, difficulty breathing, or the discomfort of sneezing, wheezing, or other symptoms that disrupt your life.

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