Every morning for the past 9 or 10 months, my boyfriend has woken up with a really bad cough. He coughs up phlegm, has to constantly clear his throat, and has to blow his nose a lot. He doesn't smoke (never has) and is rarely around smoke. He doesn't have trouble breathing, and doesn't wheeze at all. It only happens first thing in the morning, and goes away after about an hour. It doesn't happen at any other time of the day.
He refuses to go to the doctor because it's only first thing in the morning, and therefore (to him) it doesn't seem very serious.
What is this, and do I need to force him to go to the doctor?
This could be postnasal drip from his nose and/or sinuses or a sign of more serious lung disease. Just having it in the morning suggests postnasal drip but does not exclude the possibility of the latter. You should urge him to get this checked-out. He should definitely have a chest x-ray. There are many causes of such cough including cystic fibrosis, chronic lung infection, occupational lung disease, just to name a few.
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