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How to control severe cough and wheezing?

Answered by: Dr. Irwin Ziment
Professor of Medicine,
University of California Los Angeles (UCLA),
USA

Q. I am 30 years old and suffering from severe cold and cough for the past two months. I also have wheezing especially at nights. The cough is not getting suppressed even after undergoing several medications. I have done my spirometry test and the result is normal. I was prescribed with Unicontin 400mg, Vocet, Dery Retard. I am taking these medicines whenever I get wheezing at nights. I cannot sleep comfortably due to the cough. I wake up at night and vomit, as the cough is so severe. Now, I get a burning sensation and pain in the middle area of the chest. What should I do?

A.  Repetitive cough and wheezing is characteristic of asthma and in the adult it is often caused by allergy. The most likely cause is small animal hair or housedust from dead insects such as cockroaches. Inhaled dust or particles such as pollens or pollution are frequent irritants in allergic patients. Other causes include parasites in the bowel and this is more likely in tropical climates. The additional major problem is reflux of food from the stomach especially at night and this should be prevented appropriately, as GERD or gastro oesophageal reflux is a possibility. In all cases of asthma, finding the cause is advisable so as to minimise the need for the drugs for asthma therapy.

A.  Repetitive cough and wheezing is characteristic of asthma and in the adult it is often caused by allergy. The most likely cause is small animal hair or housedust from dead insects such as cockroaches. Inhaled dust or particles such as pollens or pollution are frequent irritants in allergic patients. Other causes include parasites in the bowel and this is more likely in tropical climates. The additional major problem is reflux of food from the stomach especially at night and this should be prevented appropriately, as GERD or gastro oesophageal reflux is a possibility. In all cases of asthma, finding the cause is advisable so as to minimise the need for the drugs for asthma therapy.

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