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Why do I get recurrent cough at night?

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

Q. I am a 30 years old man who has been suffering from excessive coughing during sleep. I consulted a doctor and got my blood tested. The doctor told me that my eosinophil count was high, hence the problem. I took syrup and tablets prescribed by the doctor for quite sometime and now the problem has recurred. I have to wake up in the middle of the night and take water or honey to reduce the cough. Please advise.

A.  Chronic cough is a frequent complication of bronchitis or asthma and simple tests may be necessary to exclude reactive airway disease. Other concerns would be bronchiectisis or some transient bronchiolitis. Further test or an x-ray series may be indicated. Additional courses of chronic cough are abnormal response to drugs such as calcium ion blockers. Frequently it is found that cough can be corrected by clearing up sinuses or preventing and or treating GERD. Finally, chronic cough may be a habit that will respond to altered patient behaviour and such cause can be controlled by reassuring the patient. If all simple test fail, further consideration should be given to just controlling the cough by over the counter cough drops and may be using this simple approach can be experimented with by selecting suitable products such as those containing small amount of dextromethorphan. It is preferable not to select agents with too much of this type of drug. It is debatable whether a course of anti allergic studies and hyposensitivity will be needed and the help and allergies work up to be determined by environmental or other specific exposures. It is needless to say that smoking directly or otherwise is the most common cause of cough. It is not uncommon for people to develop cough, which clear up with time and generally not serious. If blood or purulent sputum increases, it may be a sign of the illness and it should be investigated.

A.  Chronic cough is a frequent complication of bronchitis or asthma and simple tests may be necessary to exclude reactive airway disease. Other concerns would be bronchiectisis or some transient bronchiolitis. Further test or an x-ray series may be indicated. Additional courses of chronic cough are abnormal response to drugs such as calcium ion blockers. Frequently it is found that cough can be corrected by clearing up sinuses or preventing and or treating GERD. Finally, chronic cough may be a habit that will respond to altered patient behaviour and such cause can be controlled by reassuring the patient. If all simple test fail, further consideration should be given to just controlling the cough by over the counter cough drops and may be using this simple approach can be experimented with by selecting suitable products such as those containing small amount of dextromethorphan. It is preferable not to select agents with too much of this type of drug. It is debatable whether a course of anti allergic studies and hyposensitivity will be needed and the help and allergies work up to be determined by environmental or other specific exposures. It is needless to say that smoking directly or otherwise is the most common cause of cough. It is not uncommon for people to develop cough, which clear up with time and generally not serious. If blood or purulent sputum increases, it may be a sign of the illness and it should be investigated.

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