Most people have experienced a cough caused by a cold or flu — the kind of cough that comes on strong for a few days during an illness, and then tapers off as you start to feel better. But what if you have a cough that just won’t go away?
Find an allergist
If your cough is allergy-related, you might notice that you cough more during some seasons, or in some environments. This can be caused by the presence of allergens that may affect you.
You might also have other symptoms of allergy. Hay fever (allergic rhinitis) can cause sneezing, congestion, and itchy skin, eyes and nose, as well as a cough. Congestion from allergies can also cause dark circles, called allergic shiners, to appear under your eyes.
An allergy cough is caused by your immune system’s response to an allergen, rather than by an infection like a flu or cold cough. Asthma can also cause a cough. If you are also wheezing or have tightness in your chest or shortness of breath, you may have an asthma cough. Your board-certified allergist is a specialist in helping patients find relief from symptoms like asthma and allergy cough.
Asthma and allergy coughs are typically caused by swelling or irritation of the airways.
Allergies like hay fever can cause a chronic dry cough. If you’re sensitive to dust, pet dander, pollen, mold, or other common allergens, then your allergy symptoms may include a cough. Allergies can also worsen your asthma symptoms, causing them to become severe.
Learn about some common allergy triggers and how to avoid them:
If you’re suffering from a chronic cough that might be related to allergy or asthma, it’s important to get tested. Your board-certified allergist will review your symptoms, take your detailed medical history and conduct testing to complete a diagnosis. This process helps identify the specific triggers that affect you, so you can get relief.
Skin testing is the most commonly used form of allergy testing, and it is fast and accurate. In certain circumstances, your allergist may conduct blood testing in addition to or instead of skin testing. You may also take a breathing test, which can help in diagnosing asthma.
Your test results, along with your medical history, will give your allergist the information needed to develop a treatment plan and help you find relief!
Ninety percent of chronic coughs are related to one of the following:
- Chronic bronchitis
- Gastroesophageal reflux (GERD)
- Postnasal drip
If your allergist rules out allergies, asthma and the conditions listed above, ask what else might be causing your chronic cough, such as:
- Blood pressure medications
- Cystic fibrosis
- Infection (viral or bacterial)
- Laryngopharyngeal reflux
- Lung cancer