We’re often asked to see patients with chronic cough. In fact, more than ever, we’re seeing patients with chronic cough. When I go out and talk with other doctors, it’s amazing how many other doctors tell us they have patients with cough they can’t bring under control.
So, it’s a serious problem, and an allergist is a good place to go to have an evaluation. The possibilities that are most likely to cause a chronic cough begin with the sinuses. If somebody has sinus obstruction, sinus infection, with associated drainage, that can lead to a cough.
Nasal allergy, with associated post-nasal drip, can lead to a cough.
Asthma, can have, as one of its components in addition to wheezing and tightness of chest, cough can be one of the symptoms of asthma (and maybe the only symptom).
And finally, patients may have acid reflux coming up into the throat and triggering an irritative cough.
So when a patient comes in, I will take a history to see which of these are a possibility. Then do appropriate studies, possibly x-rays for sinusitis, allergy testing to see if allergy is present, spirometry to see if asthma is present, and if the symptoms are right, assessing the need for acid-reflux inducing medications.