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Coughing

About two months ago I suddenly developed a cough.  Started in cold weather (travelling outside of Florida in cold climate).  No other symptoms.  Seemed to be only chest tightness, and an almost constant dry cough- rarely productive.  I was already taking antihistamine daily for allergies.

Went to the doctor after about 30 days.  He gave Asmanex, a Medrol 6 day dose pack, Nexium, and upped to an ant-histamine with decongestant (Claritin-D generic equivalent.)  After approaching 30 days, the cough is much less frequent and chest tightness is relieved somehwhat- but not gone.  Occasionally feels like I have just a "catch" in my throat.  No other symptoms.  I don't feel any stuffiness- perhaps a bit in the morning, but I haven't/don't feel sick and I remain in otherwise excellent health.

As an ex smoker and tobacco user, I am paranoid of throat cancer- but uninsured or more correctly very poorly insured so meds and doctor visits are all out of pocket.  Mentioned this to primary care provider, he looked in my throat (the part he can see) and felt the lymph nodes- nothing unusual and didn't seem to be particularly concerned.

So- my questions.  Do you think a vist to an ENT is warranted?  While "cough" is a potential symptom of throat cancer, is it usually an exclusive symptom?
If it is CVA or allergy related- how common is it that it just lingers somewhat controlled without excellent control or is it something else entirely?  As I am currently treating all the common causes of chronic cough, at what point would a visit to a pulmonologist be in order?

2 Responses
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242588 tn?1224271700
MEDICAL PROFESSIONAL
That your cough “is much less frequent” bodes well for the cause to be an upper respiratory infection.  Cancer, anywhere in the respiratory system, including throat, larynx and lungs can cause a cough, but once begun, it would be very unlikely for it to continue to diminish.  For that reason, I agree with your primary care provider (PCP) and do not believe a visit to an ENT or a pulmonologist is warranted, unless the cough would recur/worsen in the immediate future.

By convention, a cough is not considered chronic until it lasts more than 3 months.  And, cough is not a symptom of cardiovascular accident (CVA).

Good for you for having quit smoking.  With each passing day, cough or any other respiratory symptom becomes less and less likely to be related to your past smoking.
Helpful - 1
Avatar universal
Thanks so much for your excellent response.

I should have been more specific- Cough Variant Asthma was the CVA I was referring to.  But, no worries.

Appreciate your kind and knowledgeable response.
Helpful - 0

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