Allergies and Cough: Everything You Need to Know
A cough is a symptom that can signify a lot of things. However, people who experience dry cough could also be suffering from allergies. Aside from itchy or watery eyes, a runny nose, and sneezing, a cough is also a symptom of allergic rhinitis.
In this article, you will learn how allergies are linked to coughing and vice versa, plus all other pertinent facts to help diagnose and treat the condition.
Rhinitis and Post-nasal Drip: The Missing Link
The most common signs of an allergic reaction related to the airways are sneezing and a runny nose, but it is important to note that coughing may also occur during an allergy attack. This is particularly true for people with chronic rhinitis.
People suffering from this condition often have post-nasal drip, a symptom involving the accumulation of mucus along the back of the throat and nose that causes mucus to drip in a downward direction. In some cases, there’s no actual mucus accumulation and the sensation is only simulated, which causes coughing all the same.
Although mucus drainage is typically caused by allergic rhinitis, it may also be due to vasomotor rhinitis, which isn’t triggered by an allergy but has the same symptoms. To determine which one you have, you can seek medical help and undergo an allergy test.
Dealing with Allergy-caused Cough: 5 Tips
Because there are plenty of conditions that may cause a cough, proper diagnosis is crucial in its treatment. To be sure that your persistent cough is caused by allergies, you must understand how they are linked.
According to a study published in 2009, coughing can be sensitized from the nose as mediated by the nasal sensory nerves, which is why people with allergic rhinitis suffer from cough. Mucus production due to the presence of allergens causes post-nasal drip, which also leads to cough.
After identifying the underlying cause, you should consider the following tips in dealing with allergy-induced cough:
1. Do a sinus rinse
A sinus rinse is arguably the simplest solution to an allergy-triggered post-nasal drip. Aside from easing the inflamed inner walls of the nasal cavity, rinsing your sinuses may also help get rid of foreign particles like irritants and allergens from the nasal passages. This will eventually help the body remove the excess junk that triggers the production of mucus.
To do a sinus rinse, you can purchase a ready-to-use saline solution from the local pharmacy. You may also mix your own using filtered tap water, distilled water, or boiled water that has been set aside to cool.
2. Try steaming
Another simple solution to an allergen-induced post-nasal drip is steaming. You can choose to use a humidifier for your bedroom, but direct steaming is better as it won’t make mold issues worse. You could also take a hot shower with a few drops of eucalyptus oil on the shower floor afterward for better results.
3. Avoid allergens
Since post-nasal drip is typically caused by allergies, you must try to avoid coming into contact with substances that trigger the condition.
For instance, when dealing with seasonal allergies caused by pollen, you should make sure that you limit your exposure by avoiding places with flowering plants. Wearing a face mask to prevent the allergen from entering your airways is also a good idea.
For dust mites, you can try using dust mite covers as well as vacuum and air-conditioners with HEPA filters. You should also consider washing your sheets with hot water, keeping your bedroom and home clean always, and replacing carpeted flooring.
4. Drink plenty of fluids
Thick mucus causes an array of disconcerting issues like post-nasal drip, so make sure you drink plenty of fluids to thin it out. Although water is still the best choice, you can also sip herbal tea or hot soup. Avoid caffeinated drinks because they act as diuretics and may lead to dehydration.
5. Watch your diet
As with any other condition, the type of food you consume is also a factor leading to cough. Aside from avoiding foods that cause allergies like eggs, chicken, and seafood, you should also be wary of your dairy intake. This is because milk, cheese, yogurt, and other dairy products may thicken mucus production and aggravate post-nasal drip.
Although there’s no significant clinical study that can support this claim, many allergy patients attest to its effectiveness in easing the symptoms.
Know the Facts
Knowing the facts about allergies, cough, and how they are linked is crucial in managing discomfort caused by the symptoms. After that, you must make sure to take the proper measures to alleviate and, possibly, stop the symptoms. To keep your body in tip-top shape, always consult a licensed medical professional before medicating.