What is an Allergic Cough?

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  • Written By: Mary McMahon
  • Edited By: Kristen Osborne
  • Last Modified Date: 14 October 2019
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An allergic cough is a persistent cough observed in association with allergies. It can sometimes be a diagnostic sign used to develop an allergy diagnosis for a patient, or it may develop in a patient with known allergies who is not receiving adequate treatment. Identifying and treating the allergies should resolve the cough and make the patient feel more comfortable. The services of an allergy specialist may be required to address the allergies appropriately.

Allergic coughs happen as a result of irritation in the airways. When people inhale allergens, coughing may be triggered to force the allergens back out. Remaining particles of material in the airway can generate mucus production and lead to inflammation. Coughing is used to try to clear the airways and keep them open. In addition, some people develop an allergic cough as a result of post-nasal drip, a common symptom of allergies experienced by people with allergies like hay fever.

A chronic cough is a sign of a medical problem. It may be allergies, asthma, or another disorder of the airways, or another issue, like gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD). An allergic cough may vary from a dry, throat-clearing cough to a hacking, deep cough, sometimes bringing up sputum. It may also be accompanied with wheezing, indicating a partial blockage in the airways, and the patient can have a feeling of tightness or strain in the chest, caused by the chronic inflammation.


In a patient with allergic cough, some testing can be run to check for common allergens, or a doctor may base a diagnosis on the patient's history of exposure. The patient may be given allergy medication to reduce the severity of allergies, and can be advised to avoid exposure to common allergens like pollen. This should allow the inflammation in the airways to reduce. If it does not, anti-inflammatory drugs may be prescribed and more extensive allergy testing can be conducted to narrow possible causes. This will allow the doctor to develop a treatment plan for managing the allergies and treating the cough.

Since irritation and coughing can make the throat sore, some patients with allergic cough like to take throat lozenges to soothe the throat and make them feel more comfortable. Taking these medications in conjunction with allergy treatment can help patients stop coughing more quickly. However, drugs to suppress coughing or ease sore throat should not be taken without any treatment, as the underlying problem will still be present.


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Post 3

@literally45-- Allergies usually cause a dry cough that's persistent and doesn't get better with time.

I hope you don't have mold in your home. My daughter is very allergic to mold and cannot stop coughing if there is mold in the environment.

There is a nasty type of mold called black mold that's very toxic and usually develops in humid basements. You should check your house and office for allergy sources and take an OTC allergy medication for cough symptoms meanwhile. That's what I do for my daughter.

Post 2

@literally-- You might want to see a doctor to make sure that it's not an upper respiratory infection.

But it is possible for allergies to cause coughing and not any other allergy symptoms. I once developed allergic bronchitis because of dust. It was fall/winter and my coughing started as soon as the central heating system started. I think all of the accumulated dust in the pipes started entering the house and gave me a cough.

I never figured out a solution to the cough. Coincidentally, our lease was up and we moved to another apartment. My coughing stopped as soon as we moved which confirmed to me that it was allergic.

Post 1

I've had a constant cough for the past few weeks. I think my cough is from allergies because I'm not sick. But I don't have the typical allergy symptoms like watery eyes and sneezing. How do I know if it's allergic and what can I do for treatment?

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