Indoor or outdoor, seasonal or year-round, all types of allergies can potentially cause constant coughing. Along with a runny nose, sneezing and watery and itchy eyes, allergic cough can be disruptive and annoying. Coughing associated with allergies is often caused by postnasal drip, when mucus from your nose runs down the back of the throat. Allergic asthma may also cause persistent coughing. With this type of asthma, symptoms are triggered by exposure to allergens, such as pollen, dust mites and mold spores.
If you are experiencing serious medical symptoms, seek emergency treatment immediately.
Get Your Allergies Under Control
Schedule an appointment with your doctor if you’re experiencing persistent coughing that you suspect may be related to allergies. Your doctor will perform a physical examination, ask questions about your medical history and may recommend allergy testing to determine what substances are triggering your cough.
Take the medications your doctor prescribes. Your treatment plan may include an antihistamine to reduce stuffiness, a decongestant to help dry up mucus and possibly a prescription or over-the-counter cough medicine. If you have allergic asthma, take your asthma medicines as prescribed.
Follow up with your doctor if she recommends immunotherapy, commonly called allergy shots. This treatment decreases your sensitivity to allergy triggers and, over time, can reduce your symptoms, including persistent coughing.
Avoid Exposure to Allergy Triggers
Avoid exposure to substances you know you are allergic to -- a strategy known as allergen avoidance. Whether you have a cough related to seasonal allergies or allergic asthma, this is an important part of managing allergy symptoms.
Stay away from cigarette and wood smoke, which irritate the airways and may trigger bouts of coughing. Also avoid exposure to strong, irritating fumes, such as those from cleaning products, fragrances or industrial chemicals.
Avoid being outdoors when pollen and mold counts are high if you have seasonal allergies. Keep allergens out of your home by keeping windows closed. Minimizing your time outdoors when the air quality is poor and during periods of high humidity or very cold weather may also help reduce allergy-related coughing.
Clean your home thoroughly to reduce allergens in the home. Dust and vacuum regularly, and wear a mask when cleaning to prevent breathing in allergens. Using an air purifier with a high-efficiency particulate air, or HEPA, filter may also trap allergens and keep the air in your home cleaner.
If you continue to experience persistent coughing, visit your doctor to determine whether your treatment plan requires revision.
If you experience trouble breathing, dizziness, lightheadedness or wheezing, seek immediate medical attention.
- Harvard Health Publications: That Nagging Cough
- Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America: Asthma and Allergy Overview
- Family Doctor: Allergic Rhinitis
- Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology: The Diagnosis and Management of Rhinitis -- An Updated Practice Parameter
- Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology: Attaining Optimal Asthma Control -- A Practice Parameter
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