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British Lung Foundation
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19 year old son with chronic cough

My son is 19 years old, and otherwise very healthy. He has had a productive (clear mucus) for over a year. He hacks up loogies (gross!) about 30 times an hour. I feel so bad for him, We continue to go to the pulmonologist with no luck. He's been diagnosed with asthma, tried inhalers, allergy medicine, steroids and antibiotics. Nothing has helped and I'm about to go crazy. It just doesn't make sense. If anyone has any suggestions I would be so grateful. Thank you!

5 Replies

Oh dear not nice. I presume he has had a chest x-ray? If not then that is the next step. If he has and nothing has shown up then he needs a CT scan as this is more comprehensive.

In the meantime it might help if he could cut down dairy food as while this doesn't create mucus it makes it thicker. He also needs to try drinking more water to thin it down a bit. x


Might be post nasal drip .. that can cause cough mucus all good stuf like you have described.

If waa me i would try antihistamine nasal sprays

1 like

I don't know what tetsts he said had but starting with the lungs, he needs a CT scan to see if there's anything there that needs treating or investigation. A lung function test is how asthma is diagnosed and something called a nammitol challenge sometimes follow depending on the results of the first test.

Other causes of chronic cough could be post nasal drip and nasal mucus, you can have this even without feeling blocked up actually. An ENT specialist is what's needed then they insert a small camera on a wire up the nose which I promise does not hurt at all to see up there what's happening, then they do a CT scan of th sinuses to check for infection, polyps etc. All very treatable with nasal rinses, sprays and possibly surgery.

Acid reflux causes chronic cough too, usually worse after eating and at night time and is usually relieved by a long course of Gaviscon and sometimes acid control medication.

I hope he gets some answers but I think the above tests need to be carried out to have a clear picture of what's causing the cough, whether it's lung related or not. Clearly throwing medication at him isn't working and unfortunately is too often the case.


Sorry I have some spelling mistakes I meant it's called a Mannitol challenge test after the first lung test, not always necessary though.


I cannot echo shanock reply enough you really need to get to the bottom of this before it. Gets worse I have and was the same and left and now the reflux has damaged my gullet and valve also I have a massive mucus problem and they cannot fix it as I am too ill to withstand surgery so please keep at it till you get there he’s too young to finish up like me , good luck xx


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