This article highlights one of the most common doubts, that is, can allergies make you cough?
1. Why do We Cough
When your throat or airways are irritated, you will naturally cough. Simply explained, receptors in the trachea, lungs, and throat react, which causes the brain’s “cough center” to activate.
A crucial defensive mechanism, coughing is your body’s method of expelling any foreign objects—such as pollen, mucus, and food fragments—to create more space for air to pass through.
2. Can Allergies Make You Cough
When you breathe in an allergen that your immune system interprets as threatening even if it is not, you develop an allergy cough. Usually dry and ineffective, the cough does not produce any mucus. It has been compared to “barking” or “hacking” noises.
Among the allergens that might produce an allergy cough include dust mites, mildew, pet dander, and pollen from trees and grass.
An allergy cough will persist until the allergy is treated or the allergen that caused it is eliminated.
3. Why do Allergies Make you Cough
Your immune system’s response to a chemical cause an allergy cough (allergen). In contrast to a cold or the flu, the cough is not brought on by an infection. Instead, it is a typical sign of hay fever and seasonal allergies.
Your immune system produces immunoglobulin E when you are exposed to an allergen (IgE). This substance triggers a series of events that result in immune cells (basophils and mast cells) rupturing and histamine being released into circulation.
The major culprit behind allergy symptoms is histamine. Small blood vessels expand and allow fluid to move into the surrounding tissues. Congestion and a runny nose may result when this occurs in the nose and sinuses.
It triggers an allergic response in the back of your throat when the runny mucus from your nose runs down the back of your throat.
4. Symptoms of Allergy-Related Coughs
Following are the symptoms of allergy coughs-
- Runny nose
- Stuffy nose
- Sore throat
- Nasal congestion
- Sinus headache
- Shortness of breath
- Throat irritation
5. What an Allergy Cough Feels Like
What happens inside of your body determines how an allergic cough feels.
You can notice a dry cough and a tickling sensation in your throat if an allergen is irritating your throat. Tickling in the throat can also result from postnasal drip brought on by allergies. However, in this situation, you might cough up mucus or phlegm.
Moreover, allergens can make asthma symptoms worse, including wheezing and shortness of breath. Use your asthma medicine if this occurs (such as an inhaler).
6. Diagnosis of an Allergy Cough
6.1. Skin Prick Test
Your skin will be scraped or pricked by the doctor using a needle that is injected with a little quantity of allergen extract. The allergen extract can originate from a variety of things, including dust mites, pet dander, and grass pollen. The allergist will look for any reactions, such as swelling, itching, or redness, in the pricked regions.
The skin prick test can be painful and time-consuming, which are its major downsides. The time required to visit the allergist’s office will need to be set aside because skin pricks can be excruciating. You may prevent all these difficulties by taking an at-home exam.
7. Treatment for Allergic Cough
Finding the allergy is the only method to get rid of a nagging cough. In order to identify whether you are allergic to anything, your doctor may recommend that you undergo blood or skin testing. To rule out further reasons for a chronic cough, it may also be necessary to do a lung-function test, a chest x-ray, or a bronchoscopy.
An anti-inflammatory drug may be needed for long-term maintenance therapy in those with allergic coughs. In addition, having the proper defense against things that cause allergies is also beneficial. Steroids may be suggested in rare circumstances where anti-allergy medications are ineffective.
7.1. Over-The-Counter (OTC) Medications
While quite effective, over-the-counter medications only offer temporary relief. Popular over-the-counter medicines include:-
- Antihistamines: These medications can be ingested or inhaled. They prevent histamine from being released and lower the inflammation that causes coughing.
- Decongestants: Decongestants aid in blood vessel contraction and lessen nose irritation.
- Nasal Sprays: By clearing allergens from your nasal passages, nasal sprays can be of assistance.
7.2. Prescription Medications
You can seek your doctor for a prescription if over-the-counter drugs are ineffective. Prescription cough suppressants only offer transient relief. The greatest option to explore if you want long-term relief from seasonal allergies is immunotherapy.
7.3. Sublingual Immunotherapy
A long-term remedy that might assist you in developing protection against allergy triggers is sublingual immunotherapy. The goal of therapy is to desensitize your body by exposing it to modest quantities of the allergens that set off your allergic responses. At this point, your body will no longer have an allergic reaction to the allergens that were once the source of your cough and other allergy symptoms.
Often, the medication is administered as drops or pills that you insert under your tongue. The effectiveness of sublingual immunotherapy is comparable to that of allergy injections, however unlike shots, it may be safely administered at home.
8. Home Remedies and Prevention Tips
Simple home treatments might offer momentary comfort. Try to sleep more often to start.
- Use saltwater to relieve scratchy or painful throats as well as inflamed nasal passages.
- Use a neti pot to clean your nose. You can purchase a neti pot at any neighborhood pharmacy or online, and it usually comes with packets that you mix with warm, distilled water to make a saltwater solution that you may pour into your nasal passages.
- Simply mix half a teaspoon of table salt in lukewarm water. Gargle for a few seconds. Do it regularly.
- If you have a mold allergy, use a dehumidifier in your house. If you have allergies to dust or pollen, a humidifier that produces a cool mist may help you stop coughing.
- During allergy season, keep your windows closed. To reduce allergies in your house, routinely vacuum your rugs, carpets, and upholstery. You should also replace your bed linens periodically.
- Daily hair washing and showering might help you avoid bringing allergens into your house, which could exacerbate your allergies.
- To keep hydrated, drink lots of water. This can thin your mucus and keep your throat and mouth moist.
- To stop the postnasal drip, coat the back of your throat with honey by swallowing a tablespoon of it.
- If possible, wear an N-95 or N-99 mask during pollen-heavy seasons. Pollen will be filtered by this, preventing it from entering your respiratory system.
- Use a moist towel or mop to clean the space around you. By doing this, you can prevent dust mites from congregating near you.
9. How Can You Tell Whether Your Cough is Due to a Cold
Cold- and flu-related coughs often have a wetter consistency.
Cold-related coughs frequently accompany stuffiness, postnasal drip (also known as mucus running down the back of your throat), and chest pain such as a sore throat. A low-grade fever may not always indicate allergies but rather a cold.
Yet just as a wet cough is not invariably a cold, neither is a dry cough always caused by allergies. For instance, allergies can irritate your nose and result in post-nasal drip (a wet cough), but mild colds may not cause you to get enough congested to cough up any phlegm.
Suggested reading: Can Sinus Infection Cause Cough: 5 Best Home Remedies for Sinus Infection
10. Final Note
A cough can occasionally be brought on by an underlying disease, such as allergies. Several other symptoms can also be brought on by allergies, and a cough can also be brought on by a wide variety of illnesses.
Knowing the precise reason for a cough is crucial for a proper diagnosis and efficient treatment by medical professionals. The majority of the time, home remedies are enough to manage a cough, but certain symptoms need seeking medical attention.
If you have asthma, being exposed to your allergens may set off an asthma attack that constricts your airways and makes breathing difficult. Always adhere to your doctor’s asthma treatment recommendations, which may include using a rescue inhaler and taking daily medicines.
Do not put off getting it looked out if something (like allergies or a bothersome cold) is causing you enough trouble to interfere with your life. Seeing a doctor can, at the absolute least, ease your mind and may even hasten your recovery.
A lot of us are forced to play the same guessing game every spring when we experience coughing, which is one of the most frequent and perplexing symptoms. Do I have allergies or a cold? It is a challenging topic that has become much more challenging this year as a result of the emerging coronavirus epidemic.
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