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PLEASE HELP - constant coughing and dry preventers not helping at all

Wehavethis profile image
27 Replies

Hi Community - Please Help

Would really value your thoughts on my situation. 

Mid 40s with asthma since childhood but it has really been well maintained. It’s only when I have a viral infection do I get asthma symptoms (coughing lots!!!) Since I had a baby I am naturally having lots more viral infections given little one picks up regular colds from nursery. So my coughing and asthma is more frequent. I COUGH SO MUCH THAT I FEEL THE LINING ON MY THROAT IS BECOMING ‘disrupted’

I have been to the asthma nurse and respiratory consultant. The consultant  moved me from the brown (pulmicort) preventer to the red (symbicort)preventer - 2 puffs twice daily. But there is no difference in the coughing. 

I really don’t know what to do as feels like I can’t breathe sometimes. I will get a CT scan and breathing test but hospital waiting list is really long.

Any advice or similar experiences and what action can be taken to help? 

Thank you

27 Replies
Oldandgray profile image
Oldandgray

do you think your asthma is allergy related or not. I cough a lot but mine is allergy based and seasonal. Although I cough all year. I have a small (£42 from Amazon) HEPA filter in my bedroom and a Dyson HEPA. downstairs. These have made a difference as has a nebuliser with 9% saline before bed.

Wehavethis profile image
Wehavethis in reply to Oldandgray

thank you will speak with doctor about this. I am awaiting allergy blood test. Hopefully results tomorrow. Thank you again

Itswonderful profile image
Itswonderful

I’m sorry to hear this. It sounds crazy, but the more you cough the more you cough! Coughing means your vocal cords are clapping together and getting tired and inflamed. There are things that you can do to help with this. These are things that helped me and may (or may not) help you but if they do then that’s a positive.

My speech and language therapist advised to sip water constantly. It means carrying a bottle with you all the time and having it by your bed all night to sip when you wake during the night. It keeps the throat lubricated and thins any mucus. She said she didn’t care about having to make make loads of trips to the lavatory because the aim is to sip 2-3 litres a day plus any other usual drinks such a tea/coffee etc (not alcohol!)

Try the Silent Yawn. Basically yawning with your mouth closed so the yawn stays in Your throat.

Gentle neck stretches and includes lifting your chin upwards and bringing your bottom teeth over your top lip.

Take small breathes into your diaphragm for a few seconds then a deeper breath and held for a count of 4. Relax shoulders, chest arms neck throat, tongue face and top of head as you slowly breathe out of your open mouth with relaxed jaw.

Hope something helps.

Wehavethis profile image
Wehavethis in reply to Itswonderful

thank you

fraid profile image
fraid

How annoying for you. I do agree with itsWonderful- coughing can damage your throat etc and make you cough more. I coughed my guts up for 3 weeks when I got Covid’s mate, found that sucking Strepsils,strawberry no sugar ones, wine gums etc plus Benylin expectorant, cold drinks( inc. lager,) really helped keep things moist not dry. Maybe inhaling dry powder dries things up too,so plenty water after inhaler. Good luck,it’s exhausting coughing constantly.X

Wehavethis profile image
Wehavethis in reply to fraid

thank you

klaradb profile image
klaradb

I am a similar age and have what sound like almost identical symptoms. I’ve struggled with a terrible cough after any respiratory infection since I was a kid. Montelukast helps me a lot (though it’s not for everyone). If the coughing gets extreme then a course of steroids has never not fixed it. So you could ask for more medication. If you have trouble getting it taken seriously, tell them how much your quality of life is affected. In terms of management an upright V shaped pillow helps if it’s worse at night, plus the thing others have mentioned. Good luck!

Wehavethis profile image
Wehavethis in reply to klaradb

thank you

Gareth57 profile image
Gareth57

Hi, does a hot steamy shower or bath help? It can for some however some asthmatics have a bad reaction to steam.

Wehavethis profile image
Wehavethis in reply to Gareth57

not really but will speak with doctor. Thank you

baroque570 profile image
baroque570

Do you have Cough-Variant Asthma? You may have recently developed it and it has yet to be diagnosed. I was doing that before I found out what it is. Another thought...have you been taking an ACE inhibitor like Lisinopril for high blood pressure? That constant cough is a side effect of the medicine. Again, I had that before it was diagnosed and the medicine changed. Meanwhile try to breath in some essential oils to calm it down. I think that I used peppermint ...or maybe lavender.... Best to talk to someone who is really into oils. It did help a bit though. Good luck!

Poobah profile image
Poobah in reply to baroque570

Good point re the ACE Inhibitor. My GP put me on these and I developed a relentless cough. Prescription was changed and the cough disappeared.

Wehavethis profile image
Wehavethis in reply to baroque570

hi no high blood pressure. Thank you for your suggestions.

Lysistrata profile image
LysistrataAdministrator in reply to baroque570

Hi, I realise you're trying to help, but please don't recommend essential oils to others, even if they have helped you. While they can be harmless for some people with asthma and might help with sleep etc, many of them can trigger it for other people, even if they're not directly using it for anything asthma-related. Lavender for example would trigger an attack in me. For an asthma cough, there's also no evidence that essential oils will do anything, even if they're not a trigger.

Just a reminder of the forum rules on this for everyone:

healthunlocked.com/asthmalu...

baroque570 profile image
baroque570 in reply to Lysistrata

Sorry...I had no idea. I will be more careful.

J1G54ws profile image
J1G54ws

hi I’ve suffered with a cough for years. Asthma inhalers haven’t worked for me then five yrs ago I was treated for a reflux cough with ppi’s for about six months. Cough stopped for about four yrs. Has now returned and now on ppi’s and cough has almost stopped. I have been diagnosed with cough variant asthma and suffer from dust and strong smells allergies. Where a daily antihistamines helps controlling any coughing from those allergies. But sometimes it’s gets totally out of control. Ppi’normally treats indigestion and ironically I never suffer with that, but is helping the cough. So maybe you can give those a try with the blessing of your doctor.

Wehavethis profile image
Wehavethis in reply to J1G54ws

thank you. What is ppi?

J1G54ws profile image
J1G54ws in reply to Wehavethis

ppi stands for proton pump inhibitors. Drugs like omeprazole. For gastric disorders. To stop too much acid in your stomach which can cause severe indigestion but the acid can cause a reflux cough very common with people who suffer from asthma. You can buy them chemists but are rather expensive and you can’t get a high dose as you need a high dose like 40 mg. but you can get a doctors prescription. You can ask your doctor if it’s worth trying them if he agrees that your coughing could be caused by too much acid. Hope this has explained things for you. And this will be helpful to you.

Wehavethis profile image
Wehavethis in reply to J1G54ws

thank you

Wehavethis profile image
Wehavethis in reply to J1G54ws

turns out the issue may well be a reflux cough. Thank you I will try the reflux tablets and see how this develops

J1G54ws profile image
J1G54ws in reply to Wehavethis

hi yes do try the reflux tablets it should work within about two weeks.

Wehavethis profile image
Wehavethis in reply to J1G54ws

ah thank you so much

Lysistrata profile image
LysistrataAdministrator

Hi, like others have said I was told that coughing can inflame things and lead to further coughing. While we're always told not to suppress a cough and that is often true, especially if you need to cough up gunk, sometimes you do actually need to suppress it.

I used to cough a lot - it started with asthma but then got into the cycle of I was coughing because of coughing. A physio taught me how to suppress the cough, which helped and I used it last year too after a viral infection left me with a persistent non-asthma cough. If it seems like a persistent tickly cough, this method may help though it isn't easy - you kind of just try to sit on the cough and don't let it come 'out'. This NHS physio link may help: nnuh.nhs.uk/publication/dow...

Obviously be aware it could also be asthma,. especially if you find it hard to get your breath - does reliever inhaler help at all? Have you tried using it with a spacer and doing tidal breathing, or is everything dry powder? I find sometimes dry powder, especially Symbicort, can be hard to take when I'm struggling so it may not really be getting in there. It may be worth asking to see if you can switch to a 'spray' version of the preventer (and reliever if you're on that). This video shows tidal breathing with a spacer, which I find gets the medication in better when I'm struggling: asthma.org.uk/advice/inhale...

Wehavethis profile image
Wehavethis in reply to Lysistrata

super helpful. Will ask about the spray. Interesting when I take symbicort it feels as though I have taken nothing? The blue reliever feels only slightly better. When I took the aerosol inhaler with spacer but I felt that triggered the coughing more but now I know how to use it correctly (due to my child needing it) I may revert to aerosol? Have studies shown aerosol is more effective than powder? Thank you and everyone who responded. I feel more confident in outlining what potential options should be explored. I have a doctor’s appointment tomorrow. Will keep you updated.

Lysistrata profile image
LysistrataAdministrator in reply to Wehavethis

I'm not sure if any studies have shown aerosol is better, but it's probably a case of which one works best for you! I am ok with dry powder Fostair - easier than Symbicort. I am definitely not ok with the dry powder Ventolin disk ones - can't get it in. Other people have different preferences.

There are studies showing that incorrect inhaler use/using one that doesn't work for you leads to worse outcomes, so definitely worth finding the best way for you.

People are started more on dry powder now as it's more environmentally friendly, but that should never be the first consideration - it should always be what works for that person.

Glad it all helped and yes keep us updated - good luck with your appt tomorrow!

Wehavethis profile image
Wehavethis in reply to Lysistrata

Hi @lysistrata . Hope all is well. So I am now on Fostair 200/6 as well as my ventolin aerosol. Fostair replaces Dry Symbicort as that was doing nothing. I will speak with the asthma nurse as not sure Fostair should be taken alongside ventolin. Interestingly, Fostair is stored in the fridge? What happens when you are out and about. Just started Fostair this evening so fingers crossed this works. I will have another allergy test this week as the first one only read kidney results :( may go private for CT scan.

Lysistrata profile image
LysistrataAdministrator in reply to Wehavethis

Fostair can definitely be used alongside Ventolin! However, some people use the lower dose (100/6) as a 'maintenance and reliever therapy' (MART) so they take regular puffs every day but they also can use extra puffs if they need it up to a max daily dose, instead of Ventolin (though people on this regime can use Ventolin as back up).

You shouldn't be on the MART system though as you've been prescribed 200/6 which isn't meant to be used this way - if you have been told to use it that way please do go back to the GP or asthma nurse. So you just take your set doses and use Ventolin for relief when you need it. You will need to give it a few weeks to see how it works, and may need more Ventolin while that happens. Obviously don't hesitate to get help or see your GP if you feel things are getting worse, even if you haven't been on it for long.

You don't need to store Fostair in the fridge (I checked the official product information for storage). If you have the aerosol version (the spray one), the pharmacist should keep it in the fridge before dispensing but you don't need to, just keep it under 25C. The powder one (Nexthaler) also doesn't need a fridge, just keep it under 25C. You shouldn't need to take it out and about unless you're travelling somewhere, but if you do need to it should be fine.

Hope that helps - and hope the Fostair works for you!

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