Respiratory Disorders Expert Forum
chronic cough
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chronic cough

I am a 55yo female.  My husband and I went to St. Petersburg, FL in March and stayed in a hotel for 1 wk.  The next to the last day there, my throat started getting scratchy and the next day it was sore and I was coughing.  I went to my doctor after we returned home & she said I had sinusitis and bronchitis and put me on a Z-pak for 1 wk.  Afterward, the sore throat was gone and the "bronchitis feeling" was gone, but I was still wheezing deep down in the my throat and coughing.  Next tx was medrol dose pack.  The wheezing disappeared for a couple of days, then returned.  I then developed a metallic taste in my mouth when I cough.  1 wk ago, (May 22) I woke up with fever, chills, muscle aches, and killer sore throat.  I was told my CBC showed my white count sky high and was placed on Biaxin.  I've been on Biaxin for a week now and all other symptoms are gone except the wheezing, coughing, and metallic taste.  Strange thing is, I don't feel sick at all now, but the wheeze, cough, and metallic taste will not go away.  It's starting to worry me.
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You have provided a nicely detailed description of your illness but I remain uncertain about the relationship between the March illness and your most recent (May 22) illness, if any.  That you would have wheeze and cough with each illness suggests that you have either had, 1) two episodes of acute bronchitis or, 2) that you had underlying, not clinically evident, asthma and that the causes of these two episodes (likely infectious) precipitated asthma worsening (cough and wheeze).  Medrol would alleviate asthma symptoms but, without sustained anti-asthma medication, those symptoms would be likely to recur, as yours have.  That could account for the persistent cough and wheeze, with improvement of all other symptoms, except the metallic taste.

The distortion of taste perception, perceived as a salty, bitter, rancid or metallic taste is a fairly common phenomenon, the usual causes being pharmaceutical agents (including antibiotics) damage to the taste or olfactory (smell) nerve pathways and dehydration.  Infection is another potential cause.  There are also reports of illnesses characterized by cough, wheeze and metallic taste in individuals who report having had mold exposure, most notably to so-called black mold (Stachybotrys chartarum) a ubiquitous mold (especially in damp places).  It should also be noted that this particular mold has also been reported in association with the “Sick Building Syndrome”, a disease characterized by all the symptoms you have experienced.

On the other hand, your recent May 22 illness with which you had a “sky high white blood cell count” would be much more consistent with an acute bacterial infection than with a fungal infection or an allergic reaction to fungi.

Your illness is peculiar enough, atypical enough, without a ready explanation, that you should consider requesting specialist consultation for assessment of infectious and non-infectious causes of the symptom complex you have experienced.  My consultant of choice would be an Infectious Disease specialist.  You should discuss this with your primary care physician.
You should have throat cultures, a CT scan of your sinuses, a repeat CBC and a chest X-ray as part of a complete diagnostic work-up.

Good luck
5 Comments
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Thank you so much, Dr. Tinkelman.  I finished the second round of antibiotics and still have the wheeze and cough, so I will discuss this course of action with my primary care doctor.  I am really wondering about the mold exposure idea, since the wheeze and cough started when I was on vacation in Florida, staying in a hotel on the beach at Treasure Island, FL near St. Petersburg.  I am wondering if that hotel could have had black mold in the air conditioning vents or something. Thank you again.
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I've had a cough for 3 months now and It won't go away for some reason? I was told it was allergies and was given a M Pack for 6 days and it went away but now its back and i have no idea what to do.
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Avatar_m_tn
Do this to help with the wheezing.
Build up your timing gradually.If you feel tired or dizzy, stop and resume after one minute.
Anulom Vilom –
Close your right nostril with thumb and deep breath-in through left nostril  
then – close left nostril with two fingers and breath-out through right nostril  
then -keeping the left nostril closed  deep breath-in through right nostril
then - close your right nostril with thumb and breath-out through left nostril.
This is one cycle of anulom vilom.
Repeat this cycle for 15 to 30  minutes twice a day.
Children under 15 years – do 5 to 10 minutes twice a day.
You can do this before breakfast/lunch/dinner or before bedtime or in bed.Remember to take deep long breaths into the lungs.You can do this while sitting on floor or chair or lying in bed.

For cough:
make half a glass of onion juice and warm the juice,
add ginger powder and honey,
and drink it slowly.
This will help the cough.
Do not eat banana when you have cough.
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