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Persistent cough - ideas?

 Poster: A snowHead
Poster: A snowHead
I've had a persistent chesty cough since the end of June. I went to the doctor, who for the princely sum of 30 euros told me "you've got a chesty cough".

I've not got any other symptoms other than being a bit out of breath if I do any kind of sport.

So do I just have to live with it until it clears up (as the doctor says)?

We've had a lot of pollution over the summer and the air con at work (which is not in its first flush) has been running at max during the heat wave. Doctor thinks these are likely causes.
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I assume being French the doc also prescribed a copious number of substances to stick up yer bum and something homepathic as you were obviously a hypochondriac.
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Dave of the Marmottes wrote:
I assume being French the doc also prescribed a copious number of substances to stick up yer bum and something homepathic as you were obviously a hypochondriac.


No, she knows better.
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Get a chest x-ray. Rule out the worst.
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wasnt even sent for a xray?

only thing our gp does is issue pills, send for xray & send for blood test.

Go back & insist on an xray. Especially with shortness of breath.

air con tends to dry out the air - so would prob be more of a tickly or dry cough.
However, air con would share around any nasty bugs in the air, etc.
Especially a poorly maintained one. I remember a Legionaires disease outbreak caused by aircon a number of years ago...


Last edited by Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do. on Mon 20-08-18 15:53; edited 3 times in total
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@davidof, Doc is probably right. You could try an antihistamine to see if it has any allergic origin.
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There were a lot of niggly persistent coughs about here last year - I got one in July which didn't clear until Jan. I coughed up a fair bit of phlegm every morning. At one stage it got worse and I was prescribed antibiotics - the doc said it was a virus and that I'd got an infection on top. The anti-biotics cleared the infection and I just had to let the virus run its course.

I think exercise helped - an off piste week in Jan with lots of deep snow and heavy breathing seemed to do the trick. Maybe you need a S. American trip?
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Sounds daft, but the best cure I've found for a persistent chesty cough is "Gold Strike". It's a cinnamon liqueur made by Bols. You have to buy it over the internet, as no shops seem to stock it in the UK. It's about 50% proof. I was recommended it by a friend. I'd had a cough that had been going on for about 12 weeks, that I just couldn't shift. I was exhausted with it. My friend was visiting and brought some with him. I had two shot glasses full before I went to bed (just sip them). It's like a hand grenade going off in your chest. Shocked You can feel the warmth spreading. I took it for two nights running and the cough broke. It went completely within a few days.

Since then it's been my go to whenever I have a cough. If you get some, keep it in the fridge.
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No need to panic, but...

https://www.webmd.com/heart-disease/heart-failure/heart-failure-symptoms

wink
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Six weeks for a cough is not that unusual.
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Pollution and pollen can cause an allergic reaction. This can range from severe to minor in different people. Sinuses, euchasian tube and middle ear, can get clogged with mucus reacting with this pollution/pollen. If there is no blockages you will not notice any sinus headaches or earaches. However, you might notice some extra post nasal drip (or mucus dripping down the back of the throat from higher up).

This can cause a persistent cough, and can be particularly noticeable when you start exercise. As you warm up and get into a rythm in your jog/cycle, your breathing will increase mucus and clear any pollutants causing you to spit a lot initially.

Drink plenty of water, and maybe try an antiseptic lozange or just a cough sweet.
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@Awdbugga, On a similar theme to your post, Jaegermeister does taste remarkably similar to Veno's cough mixture..... Madeye-Smiley
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Alastair Pink wrote:
@Awdbugga, On a similar theme to your post, Jaegermeister does taste remarkably similar to Veno's cough mixture..... Madeye-Smiley


I'll take your word for that Alistair. I've never tried Jaegermeister. But given your comparison, I doubt I'll be trying it any time soon. Razz

Gold Strike has 24 karat gold flake suspended in it. So not only does it cure your cough, it makes your "Doo Doos" all sparkly. Toofy Grin Twisted Evil

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Bols-Gold-Strike-Liqueur-0-5-L/dp/B004EAFCT6?tag=amz07b-21
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 You know it makes sense.
You know it makes sense.
Think il stick to stroh rum
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I had similar and had two episodes of massive breathing problems about 6 months apart.

1 Month on Monteleukost to completely stop symptoms. Drop the Monteleukost, then on Ceterizine hydrochloride with a backup of Salbutamol.

Now, only take the Ceterizine if I have sneezes (allergy) and if I have any wheezing a couple of puffs of Inhaler.

Now I have only the inhaler as a backup and take it once a month at most.

Basically, the initial drugs were to gat back to base. Then the next treatment was a reduction and now it is a "just in case".
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 Poster: A snowHead
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I'll probably give the Stroh a miss but I'll pop in to see what I can pick up over the counter from the chemists, maybe a few inhalers.
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@davidof, I have the sort of sinus problems which Bigtipper describes and which are worse in London, the high levels of pollution are probably to blame. I have lately eschewed sprays and drugs, and now just irrigate with a saline solution every morning and sometimes in the evening too: it has made a huge difference. This weird thing is the way to go, cheap, simple and really effective:
https://www.amazon.co.uk/Yoga-Mad-Nosebuddy-Blue-One-Size/dp/B004QL7C8C?tag=amz07b-21
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If it’s gone on for this long GP should a least send you for CXR and do some swabs could be adeno virus and the cough can go on for ages but some form of investigations should occur
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Sure its not asthma?

I would try for an X ray.
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@Hurtle, my husband and daughter who both suffer with sinus issues use that sort of contraption and say it really helps.
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I’ve had long term coughs that linger long after a cold has ended, and they basically seemed to be habit forming (you are continuing to cough because you are coughing). You need something to break the habit. I’ve found a basic ventolin inhaler, or Ultra Chloraseptic anaesthetic throat spray both did the job within 2 days.
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@davidof, is the cough in the day or night or both?
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Pamski wrote:
@Hurtle, my husband and daughter who both suffer with sinus issues use that sort of contraption and say it really helps.


I use a nose nettie as well.
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Sperks wrote:
If it’s gone on for this long GP should a least send you for CXR and do some swabs could be adeno virus and the cough can go on for ages but some form of investigations should occur
Agreed
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gryphea wrote:
Sure its not asthma?

I would try for an X ray.


+1
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@davidof, Persistent coughs can be really troublesome. As a layman I would support what others have said and maybe ask about an X-Ray to rule out anything more serious?

On a lighter note, remember the old saying "It's not the cough that carries you off, it'd the coffin they carry you off in...." Toofy Grin
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For my particular purpose, I found a neti pot was not as effective as some other methods and could cause some problems which the other methods did not. I think I have a slightly dysfunctional euchasian tube on one side. I can use a neti pot to reach my frontal sinuses, but it is not very easy to clean the euchasian tube with a neti pot unless you are an expert. Even if you are an expert, you risk blowing salty water into your middle ear.

The other reason I did not like the neti pot, was the salty water mix to the right isotonic or hypertonic mixture without impurities. You can buy sea salt with no impurities for this purpose, but tap water can contain impurities which can irritate the nasal passage.

Having spent a long time skiing, and getting a frozen nose, I get what I call a skiers nose. Slightly poor blood circulation, and a little dysfunction with regard to mucal activity.

A great solution for all of these problems is a steam inhaler (or a facial steam bath). This gets moisture, heat, into the nasal cavity and if you are leaning over it with your nose pointing to the floor, the steam rises right into your euchasian tube at the back of your throat. It improves skin tone around the nose, and face, and blood circulation.

It is a poor mans turkish bath for the face.

This is an example: (mine is similar but different make)


https://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/Facial-Sauna-with-Steam-Inhaler-Face-Steamer-Unblock-Pores-Sinus-UK-SELLER/113189831014?hash=item1a5aa3c166:g:YEAAAOSw5nxbawOW

For more problematic issues, like a bacterial infection or viral infection in the sinuses, I would use a sterimar spray rather than neti pot. The main reason is the spray nossle gets the salty water in a mist all over the nasal mucosa and directly where you want it. It also contains salty water, but specifically measured so it contains no impurities. You can buy these at the chemist for allergies, or congestion. You can also buy an isotonic spray, which you can use if you have high blood pressure (to avoid excessive salt) which helps clean the nasal cavity if your mucus is not flowing properly.

This is the isotonic version:

https://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/Sterimar-Sea-Water-Isotonic-Nasal-Spray-100ml-Hayfever-and-Allergies/173054639514?epid=1504298454&hash=item284adc3d9a:g:LjwAAOSwOLVbT4MT

Also for me, I can direct the spray and hit my euchasian tube directly with salty water which opens up the clogged tube. Then I can perform the hold my nose and blow air into the tube without fear of blowing water into my middle ear.

This information may not be useful to the OPs particular condition, but trying these simple methods can do no harm. (Particularly the steam inhaler, and isotonic sterimar used as per instructions). Worth trying these if you develop skiers nose!

I should say that I have seen a pharmacist, a GP, and an ENT doctor regarding this condition years ago. I was prescribed sterimar, and a steriod nasal spray by the ENT doctor. The pharmacist suggested I try Beconase. (I purchased some and decided to see GP first, so never used it as the ENT doctor prescribed something else stronger which did not work) I have continued to use the sterimar spray whenever I needed to (about once every 2 years). I do not think I needed the steriod spray, and did not like the list of side effects. Prior to this I used a neti pot, and think it was making things worse by causing other problems. I no longer use a neti pot, and any problems seem to go away pretty quickly without any drugs. (perhaps because I regularly go jogging now, which helps flush the nose with mucus and oxygen)



snowHead
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@Bigtipper, I guess everyone's different, but I am getting much better results with a neti pot than with Sterimar, which I used for years. I use a mixture of boiled water and filtered tap water. Steam inhalation - I just use a pudding basin and a towel over my head - is ALWAYS a good idea.
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@davidof,
My partner has the same, seemingly starting around the same time. His doc has prescribed an xray to rule out anything scary. Next steps after that are a couple of tests to check common reasons which are apparently treatable. I confess that I don't know what these are. According to a family member, in the UK, a cough that lasts longer than six weeks is chronic and merits investigation.
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Weirdly I had a very similar problem. I was prescribed some antacid medication as acid reflux can cause coughing. I also gave up hard cheese which seemed to help. ( odd I know) when the course of antacid was finished it had cleared up . Hasn’t returned since.
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NickyJ wrote:
gryphea wrote:
Sure its not asthma?

I would try for an X ray.


+1

+1

Asthma is often triggered by pollution or other irritant. Is it worse in the morning. You might get a peak flow meter for your breathing. Monitor the results morning and evening. Is the phlegm any colour but white if so it might be an infection. Do you know anyone with a blue inhaler, if your peak flow improves after a puff this might also indicate asthma.
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I have recently had an episode of what it get in my nasal cavity. It started with a mild sore throat, with no other symptoms other than feeling very mildly under weather. Then my right ear started getting blocked, and causing green lumps of mucus in the mornings.

So, I did what I usually did. Nothing much different, it usually heals on its own. This time I did some more research, and read some suggestions such as gargling with salt water 5 x per day for 5 minutes at a time. Also suggested gargling with soluable asprin instead of salt water (warm).

So I tried this, as I once tried garging with chlorhexidene diglutonate mouthwash and this really cleared my euchasian tube. (not very good for your voicebox apparantly)

Anyway, the extended gargling with salt really helps with my ear congestion. It suggests that I suffer from a pharyngitis, which infects my euchasian tube. Could be bacterial, or viral. Does not happen very often, is usually mild, and gargling with salty water really helps.

Try gargling with warm salty water for 5 minutes at a time 5 x per day (I suggest after eating food, and before bed)

NB. I should say that I have a bifid uvula. This is not normal, and can cause a problem with euchasian tubes. A bifid uvula is a precurser to a cleft palate. I do not have a cleft palate, I was lucky!
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Bigtipper wrote:
.... and this really cleared my euchasian tube.


I think that will be the eustachian tube(s).
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@Alastair Pink, I have 2, but only one is dysfunctional. So only one needs clearing usually.
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@davidof, Your doc is probably right but get a chest xray to be sure. Also it's important to drink lots of water while working in heavily air-conditioned office.
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at the moment we've settled on the idea of an allergy and I'm taking anti-histamines and cortizone, we'll see how that works. thanks.
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Could be due to acid reflux or post nasal drip (thus all the discussion about nasal steroids and saline inhalations. Fine if thats the case but I would try OTC fluticasone and Neilmed nasal inhalation).

However would you be SOB with allergic rhinitis?? or reflux. Doubtful

S/T trial of antihistamines great.

After 6 weeks need a CXR. Are you a smoker, work with asbestos, parrot fancier? Loosing weight? Coughing blood?

Have spirometry to check chest function.

Trial of an inhaler.

Refer to a chest physician if all excluded.
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Have had similar coughs over the years. First time I was prescribed an inhaler and that worked. Had something similar again this winter and the inhaler made no difference if anything worse. Mannuca honey cleared it up within a day or two - might be worth trying it??
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boabski wrote:
. Mannuca honey cleared it up within a day or two - might be worth trying it??


I am sure the OP would have found it but just in case its Manuka.
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@davidof,

Someone I know has had one on and off for quite a while and it's got worse (sometimes they can be coughing every few minutes). It seems that it's caused by reflux as @hawkesbaynz suggested above

Bizarrely you would think it would have an obvious correlation to when you were eating but it's not.

Worth getting that either confirmed or eliminated as a candidate for the underlying cause
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