British Lung Foundation
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4 Month Cough

I’m writing on here just for some feedback about a cough that I’ve had for a little over 4 months. I am 18, 5’7, and 135 pounds. I have seen three doctors about this, all of which of given me different suggestions and still no luck. I should be more persistent when I’m not having any luck, but I’m a college student so the co-pays are getting a little much for me right now. Okay, so at the beginning of January 2018, I began having a dry cough. Of course at the time, I just thought I had a cold coming on, but I had absolutely no other symptoms. I would have hoarse coughs throughout the day, but they were pretty spread out. It was at it’s worse immediately following swim practice, and of course more so after my run after swim, so basically just with exercise. A few hours after practice, I go back to my occasional cough until it’s time for bed. As soon as I lay down, my coughing gets hoarse and repetitive all over again. When my cough started and it hadn’t gone away after a few weeks, I thought maybe it was because I had inhaled water from swimming and it was causing a cough. It was pretty naive of me to think that, but it was my first year on a swim team so I didn’t know what to think. So I wait for the swim season to end, but when I was coughing two weeks afterwards, it was time to see a doctor. I still had a pediatrician at the time, but just what she had told me made me upset and I decided to switch to a doctor. Of course she checked my lungs and she said it was all clear. She said I probably just have phlegm in my system and that I should drink chamomile tea with honey, even though I hadn’t been sick for several months and my cough was dry. She said if it doesn’t go away I’m two weeks then I should go back, but I had already waited 6 weeks into my cough to see her so it seemed like if she couldn’t suggest anything right then, then what good would me coming back in two weeks do. Another month passes and I still have the same dry cough that’s occasional throughout the day, worse after I run, and lasting throughout the night. My new doctor again says my lungs are all clear, but she diagnosed me for “unspecified asthma” and “exercise induced asthma.” I have never had allergies or have ever smoked, so I was surprised to suddenly have asthma, but they’re not really related anyways. So I began taking one type of steroid inhaler in the morning and at night, and another inhaler 30 minuets before my run. I do notice improvement throughout the day and it is less hoarse st night, but it’s still the same after a run. 3 months into the cough I go to a community service convention, but I needed to support my division, so I stupidly spent the entire weekend screaming my lungs out. Obviously, this made my cough ridiculously worse and I found myself coughing what seemed like all the time, except now my throat hurt too. So I know that was my fault, but after two weeks my throat feels better and I’m just back to my regular cough!! Right after my convention, my throat was in so much pain that I went to Urgent Care just to see if I gave myself laryngitis. They just told me I have asthma like my doctor and to keep using it, so worth fifty bucks. I guess my inhaler helped a little bit, but if it’s under control then it should be gone. Anyways, two weeks ago I got a cold so I had both my dry cough, and a congestion wet cough. Ever since my cold, however, every time I breath in after a cough, my throat makes a weird gurgling sound. I think my cold is gone, but today my chiropractor was popping my back, and when I breathed in she said she could feel the fluid in my lungs, so I’m not sure if that has anything to do with my cough. Anyways, I don’t have pain anywhere, it’s just uncomfortable and annoying. Plus everyone thinks I have whooping cough because my cough is so loud and persistent, but I know it’s not that. So if anyone read this novel and has suggestions, even if it’s just to go back to the doc, I’d love to hear them :))

15 Replies
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It’s so annoying when you have something wrong and nobody can make it better. It may well be asthma but you need a definite diagnosis plus medication and a general care package.

Do go back to see your doctor and I wish you well for the future. Xx

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Thank you for the reply! I most definitely will be returning to the doctor to find an official diagnosis. Thank you very much for the wishes!

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As Sassy said you need to be insistent unfortunately and ask your doctor to find a solution..why don’t you ring the BLF helpline to find out more.

Take care.

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Thank you for the reply happylondon. I will definitely check out that hotline and thank you for the advice, I will be returning to the doctor until there is a proper diagnosis.

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Hi

First 2 questions:-

Have you had an x-ray?

When you were examined did the doctor just listen at the top of your lungs or listen all the way down?

I am going tell you about my recent events not to scare you but to explain my questions. I am 68 with 4 chronic illnesses including COPD and Emphysema and a compromised immune system therefore, an infection is much worse for me than a fit or younger person.

I have at present an infection in the bottom of my right lung. It started with a dry cough at the end of January. At first because it was dry I put down to irritation and tried to find the cause. I should have gone sooner but waited until the week before Easter before seeing my Doctor. He listened to the top of my lungs and thought I was okay but sent me for an x-ray just to be safe. I have very long lungs and the x-ray revealed the infection at the bottom of my right lung. I had 4 weeks of progressively stronger antibiotics which caused the cough to become productive but the infection just got worse. I was then put on much stronger antibiotics via IV twice a day. I ended up in Hospital, 2 junior Doctors examined me but could not hear anything. Then a consultant examined me properly and could hear a rumbling sound coming from the bottom of my right lung as I breathed. I am back home after a week stay, but will be on IV’s for another 3 weeks and then an x-ray to check progress.

Moral of my story:-

I should have gone to the Doctor earlier.

I know I have very long lungs and should have asked him to listen all the way down.

The x-ray meant, after my visit to Doctor, the infection was found sooner.

I think you do need to go back to a Doctor and make sure all of your lungs are checked and not just the top especially as your chiropractor could feel fluid in your lungs. Also an x-ray.

I hope you are able get a diagnosis and treatment soon.

Regards

Andy

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Hello Andy, thank you for the reply. I have not gotten an x-ray, but I’ll definitely ask about it on my next visit. The doctor did however listen all the way down, but I’ll of course have her check that out again, which I will do ASAP. I am very sorry that you had to go through all of that, but thank you so much for sharing so I know to stay persistent in going to the doctor when I’m not seeing results. I hope you have a quick and safe recovery!

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I sympathise with you and your cough. I started with a dry cough in July 2012. I put up with it for about four months but by then it had changed to a productive cough and it was beginning to affect my work - I was a primary school teacher and all the talking made the coughing worse. I went to see my gp who tried various meds to try and stop the cough. He referred me to a lung consultant. I had an x-ray and a ct scan and bronchiecstasis was diagnosed, but it was probably caused by bronchitis or a very bad dose of measles I had as a child. The lung consultant referred me to the ‘difficult asthma clinic.’ To cut a long story short as well as all the usual asthma meds I was put on doxycycline daily as a prophylactic. This reduced the number of chest infections I was getting but didn’t stop the cough. However in August 2017 this was changed to Azithromycin three times a week, and my cough stopped in September 2017 - 5 years and 2 months of coughing.

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I am very sorry you had to deal with that cough for so long! I will definitely return to my doctor to look into my cough further to see if there’s an underlying condition. Thank you for sharing your story, it’s hard to hear others going through this problem as well, but it’s still a little comforting knowing I’m not alone. I’m glad that with the correct diagnosis, you were finally able to get over your cough, I hope that’ll happen soon for me too :)

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Dear Runninggall I am afraid i have no helpful information for you - sorry - but a thought. You might want to re-produce for your doctor, or someone, all that you have written, so perhaps it might be a good idea to copy it into a Word document so it is easy to find. Click at the beginning of your message press the left mouse button and scroll down to the end of your message Press Ctrl and C (to copy it), open a Word document Press Ctrl and V (your message should appear) and save it. Healthunlocked does keep messages that have been written by each person but that may not be so easy to find. I do hope your condition gets better very soon.

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Thank you for the tip!

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Good luck when you go back to your doctor. Hope they finally sort out your breathing with the right meds soon.

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Thank you very much! :)

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Thank you to everyone for their condolences and input. As it turns out, I had whooping cough. I’m a little bit surprised none of my doctors tested for this before, especially since there’s an outbreak at my school, but it’s nice to finally have an answer. I’ve started taking antibiotics for about a week now and I’m already having improvements. Even though I wasn’t sure if I was contagious or not, I’m glad I kept my distance from young children and infants. I wish this had been discovered sooner not only because a four month cough is not fun, but also so that I wouldn’t spread something so contagious. My past doctors actually never tested me because I had my pertussis shot, which is for whooping cough, last year. I suppose the shots don’t always work.

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I am pleased to hear you eventually got a diagnosis. Be well.

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Try a Specialist who’s specialty is Allergies or try an Endocrinologist

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