When To See A Doctor
Chest congestion can be a nagging effect of asthma. If you are experiencing chest congestion that does not seem to be improving, you should see your doctor.
Since chest congestion in asthma can be a sign that you have an infection or that your asthma or allergies are not well controlled, you might need treatment to help relieve the underlying problem.
Do You Have An Asthma Cough
Asthma cough can be challenging.
It can be embarrassing or awkward to have an ongoing cough, especially amid increased anxiety over health during COVID-19 times.
When we released a blog last year on COVID-19 and asthma coughing, it had a huge response. People with asthma told us about the stigma and social isolation they were feeling about their coughing during the pandemic.
A cough is a way the body attempts to expel irritants in the lungs. But when the cough is due to inflammation of the lungs in asthma, and exposure to triggers, then the cough can continue.
Here is what you need to know about asthma cough.
In asthma, the airways are inflamed and overly responsive to triggers, such as cold and dry air, colds and flu, smoke, dust, and pollens. For some people, the coughing can start after exercise.
The amount and severity of cough can change depending on the weather and the season.
Taking your preventer medication as prescribed, and in line with your , may improve the cough symptoms by reducing the inflammation in the airways.
We encourage you if you are experiencing any asthma symptoms, to speak with your doctor as it may indicate that you are due for an asthma review.
Start With Some Home Remedies For Cold And Allergy Symptoms
When you start feeling icky, some simple home remedies can provide temporary relief. For starters, try to get more rest. Both allergies and colds can cause tiredness, so listen to your body and take it easy.
Also, take advantage of saltwater to soothe irritated nasal passages and scratchy or sore throats.
For your nose, use a neti pot. A neti pot can be picked up at any local drugstore or online, and typically comes with packets to mix with warm, distilled water to create a saltwater solution to pour through your nasal passages.
For your throat, simply mix a quarter or half teaspoon of table salt into an 8-ounce glass of warm water. Take a sip and gargle for a few seconds like you would with mouthwash. Then spit and repeat until the solution is gone. You can do this a couple times a day.
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Charcoal Or Gray Phlegm
We tend to see charcoal or sooty looking phlegm in people who work in coal mines and factories or are really heavy smokers.
If you work in a factory where theres a ton of smoke and dont wear a mask, youre inhaling all that in and its causing an inflammatory reaction in your airways that produces phlegm. The irritants are mixed in with the phlegm and when you cough, it comes out.
Coughing up blood with asthma underlines that some medical problem is happening in the lungs / respiratory system. Coughing up blood is not due to the presence of an asthma condition because asthma alone does not cause one to have mucus or bloody sputum. The cough with blood originates from the upper respiratory tract, such as from sinuses or nasopharynx, though it is not always easy to detect the source of blood.
Nevertheless, the condition should be taken seriously and diagnosed to determine what the person is suffering from. In medical knowledge, there are several causes for which coughing up blood can happen such as gingivitis, bleeding gums, blood clot in the lung, bronchitis, cystic fibrosis, bronchiectasis, throat irritation due to violent coughing, nosebleed, laryngitis, lung cancer, GoodpastureÃ¢s syndrome, pneumonia, necrotic pneumonia, lung injury, lung trauma, parasitic lung infection, anaerobic pneumonia, Serratia marcescens lung infection, pulmonary aspiration, pulmonary edema, tuberculosis, WegenerÃ¢s granulomatosis and systemic lupus erythematosus.
What Are The Manifestations Of Coughing
Asthma cough reflex and throat clearing are common phenomenons. Usually, they go away on their own. Most people self treat and dont seek medical attention. However, sometimes these symptoms become chronic, which is defined as coughing or throat clearing that persists for 8 or more weeks. This is usually when people seek help. The best path to finding the best treatment options begins by seeing a doctor and getting a proper diagnosis.
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Coughing Up White Mucus
The color of your mucus alone is not a good diagnostic tool. A doctor may look at a sample of sputum to see if it has white blood cells or bacteria in it.
Studies have shown that sputum infected with bacteria tends to be green, yellow, or another color it’s rarely cream-colored, white, or clear.
If you have white mucus, it means there are white blood cells in it. The cause could be a virus, bacteria, or another pathogen. It could also indicate a condition like pneumonia.
Conditions that may cause white mucus are:
Why Does Asthma Make You Cough
When your airways are inflamed, it makes it hard for air to flow into your lungs. This can cause coughing and other asthma symptoms. Asthma symptoms include , difficulty breathing, and wheezinga high pitched whistling sound you make when breathing. The thin layer of smooth muscle surrounding your airways react by tightening, further blocking airflow. Your mucus production increases and makes your breathing and coughing troubles even worse.
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Whats An Asthma Attack
When you breathe normally, muscles around your airways are relaxed, letting air move easily. During an asthma attack, three things can happen:
- Bronchospasm: The muscles around the airways constrict . When they tighten, it makes the airways narrow. Air cannot flow freely through constricted airways.
- Inflammation: The airway linings become swollen. Swollen airways dont let as much air in or out of the lungs.
- Mucus production: During the attack, your body creates more mucus. This thick mucus clogs airways.
Talk With A Doctor Or Clinician To Create A Personalized Treatment Plan
If you arent sure if its a cold or allergies, or if your symptoms are severe or long-lasting, its best to connect with a care provider to get an official diagnosis and treatment plan.
If your allergy symptoms are left untreated, you could become more prone to getting sinus infections or other upper respiratory infections, or may lead to poor asthma control.
Also, a common cold can turn severe. So, if your cold has had you laid up longer than a day or two, get in touch with your doctor.
You have a couple options:
Make an appointment for face-to-face care from a primary care doctor or clinician. Whether you choose a video visit or in-person appointment, your doctor will listen to your symptoms, answer questions and work with you to create a tailored treatment plan including connecting you with an or an if needed.
Start a virtual visit anytime, anyplace through Virtuwell. With Virtuwell, no appointment is necessary and treatment is available 24/7. Getting started is easy. Well ask you a few questions, and youll get your diagnosis and treatment plan from a board-certified nurse practitioner. Each visit is just $59 or less, depending on your insurance.
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How Do They Affect Each Other
Its not yet clear why reflux and asthma occur together or if one causes the other. However, it is known that they can affect each other, making each condition worse in something of a vicious circle.
In some cases, acid may be stimulating the nerves in your esophagus. This may trigger the nerves to tell your esophagus and larynx to protect itself from the acid. Mucous production may increase and a cough reflex may also be triggered. In other cases, acid directly injures the lining of your throat, airway, and lungs, which makes breathing difficult and causes a cough, or causes an inflammatory reaction in the lower airway, creating an asthma attack, Dr. Kessler said.
On the other hand, it is possible for asthma medicines to make your symptoms worse. This is most likely to occur with the asthma drug theophylline. Inhaled steroids used for asthma may increase symptoms that are similar to LPR.
Managing Symptoms At Home
If you have acute bronchitis:
- get plenty of rest
- drink lots of fluid this helps prevent dehydration and thins the mucus in your lungs, making it easier to cough up
- treat headaches, a high temperature, and aches and pains with paracetamol or ibuprofen although ibuprofen is not recommended if you have asthma
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Can A Cough Last For Weeks With Long Covid
The doctor may recommend flu shots, and other preventative measures to ensure that you dont get colds and flus in the first place. People with long COVID-19 have reported that their cough can continue for weeks or months and be accompanied with ongoing breathlessness and loss of stamina. We will be writing a new blog post about this soon.
Bacterial And Viral Infections
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Can Allergies Cause A Sore Throat
So, the short answer here is yes, Evan Li, MD, an allergist and assistant professor of medicine specializing in immunology, allergy and rheumatology at Baylor College of Medicine, tells Health. A sore throat can be from a direct inflammatory effect of allergens on the back of your throat, from mucus draining down into your throat, or from the irritating effect of coughing.
Sneezing, congestion, itchy eyes and nose, and runny nose are the most common symptoms associated with seasonal allergies, Kelly Simpson, MD, an allergist at Austin Regional Clinic in Austin, Texas, tells Health. But sore throat can also be added to that list, often caused by whats referred to as postnasal drip. This is when increased mucus in the nasal passages drips down the back of the throat. As it drips down, it irritates the throat.
Postnasal drip, other than causing sore throat, can also cause the sensation of something getting stuck in your throat, tickling or itching in the back of your throat and also irritation that leads to cough, Dr. Li says.
No one allergen is more prone to causing sore throat than others, but the more potent the allergen, the more likely it is to cause symptoms of allergies overall, Dr. Li says. Some of the most potent allergens are grasses, ragweed, dust mites and cat dander.
Seasonal Hay Fever Allergens
Common allergens associated with seasonal hay fever include:
- Grass pollen: Some species are more likely to cause reactions, such as ryegrass, Kentucky bluegrass, Timothy grass, and Bermuda grass.
- Tree pollen: Pollen from species such as mountain cedar, oak, mulberry, maple, western red cedar, and elm can often cause allergies.
- Flower pollen: Ragweed, dandelion and devils paintbrush pollen is often allergenic, as is that of species without obvious flowers, such as lambs quarters.
- Pollen from flowering bushes, trees, and shrubs: These can include sagebrush and English plantain.
Fungal and mold spores are also allergens that can lead to hay fever.
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Care Advice For Asthma Attack
Who Can Get Asthma
Anyone can develop asthma at any age. People with allergies or people exposed to tobacco smoke and secondhand smoke are more likely to develop asthma.
Statistics show women tend to have asthma more than men, and asthma affects Black Americans more frequently than other races.
When a child develops asthma, healthcare providers call it childhood asthma. If it develops later in life, its adult-onset asthma.
Children do not outgrow asthma. They may have fewer symptoms as they get older, but they could still have an asthma attack. Your childs healthcare provider can help you understand the risks.
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Bring Your Inhaler With You
This goes without saying, but many folks forget theirs, especially when it starts to get nicer in early spring.
Carrying your rescue inhaler is recommended, and for those that are on maintenance inhalers, taking them as prescribed and practicing proper inhaler technique is necessary to get the most out of your inhaler, says Dr. Lan. If you feel your inhaler is not working and you have not been taught how to properly use your inhaler, ask your medical provider or pharmacist to show you how to use it.
Too Much Mucus And Health Issues
If you suffer from too much mucus production, you may experience, one or more of the following symptoms:
You suffer from a chronic cough that wont go away You are currently experiencing mucus from a cold and/or flu You wake up with puffy and crusty eyes in the morning Bad breath throughout the day You have a constant stuffy nose Your senses are dulled Your senses are not sharp your mind is foggy and thinking clearly is difficult
These symptoms are often a result of a sluggish digestive tract, respiratory system and lymphatic system, which could be caused by excess mucus production. The digestive tract contains millions of tiny microvilli that absorb nutrients from food. In fact, over 80% of all absorption takes place in the small intestine. When we have excess mucus build-up in the intestine, it causes a glue-like buildup that sticks in the folds of the intestinal walls. This accumulation deforms the intestines and results in over 9-10 pound blockages in the average man or woman. This obstruction results in absorption issues, digestive problems, and an overall sick and poor-functioning body.
Although excess mucus production can come from allergies , household chemicals, pollution, or bacteria and viruses, a major cause of mucus production is from the diet.
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Know The Asthma Symptoms In Children
Asthma affects as many as 10% to 12% of children in the United States and is the leading cause of chronic illness in children. For unknown reasons, the incidence of asthma in children is steadily increasing. While asthma symptoms can begin at any age, most children have their first asthma symptoms by age 5.
For more detail, see WebMDâs Asthma in Children.
S For Managing Your Sore Throat
The first step in managing your allergy-induced sore throats is visiting a professional. From there, we can determine the root cause of your allergy, and help you create a personalized plan for removing the trigger from your life and/or ways to manage your allergies when removing the trigger isnt a realistic solution.
Short Term Relief
Providing short-term relief for a sore throat can usually be accomplished through the use of simple but effective home remedies. Drink warm liquids, especially tea with honey or lemon, and chicken broth or bouillon. Cold liquids can also help. Suck on Popsicles, hard candy, or throat lozenges to soothe irritation. Gargle with warm salt water several times a day. Use a humidifier or vaporizer to moisten the air.
Long Term Relief
More long-term solutions can involve immunotherapy, which is a series of allergy shots designed to build up your bodys immune system against the allergen causing you and your body stress.
You Experience Shortness Of Breath
Another annoying symptom of cat allergies is feeling like you just cant catch your breath. The Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America says, Many airborne particles are small enough to get into the lungs. For some, this exposure can cause severe breathing problems. Highly sensitive people can begin coughing, wheezing and have shortness of breath within 15 to 30 minutes of inhaling allergens.