Get the Facts about Cough-Variant Asthma

If a person experiences any common asthma symptoms—such as shortness of breath, tightness in the chest, or wheezing—they should obtain a professional asthma screening as soon as possible. It’s important to understand that not all types of asthma are the same. Cough-variant asthma is a form of asthma that is characterized primarily by chronic coughing and is not relieved with typical over-the-counter cough medicine. Here are some facts you should know about this type of asthma.

What is cough-variant asthma?

People who have cough-variant asthma suffer from a dry cough. Unlike the coughing associated with many upper respiratory infections, dry coughing doesn’t produce mucus. Instead, it is simply a hacking cough that may leave your throat feeling irritated and sore. For many people with cough-variant asthma, coughing is the only noticeable symptom.

What triggers cough-variant asthma?

Typical asthma triggers may bring on cough-variant asthma, including:

  • Weather: cold, dry air
  • Outdoor: pollen, mold spores
  • Indoor: Pet dander, dust mites, mold spores
  • Air Pollutants: Smoke, smog, chemical fumes, perfumes

For example, many people find that they experience severe dry coughing when they exercise. It’s also very common to experience coughing at night.

Can cough-variant asthma lead to asthma?

In many cases, people who have cough-variant asthma do go on to exhibit other asthma symptoms. Cough-variant asthma has also been linked to allergic rhinitis and other respiratory disorders.

Who is most likely to get cough-variant asthma?

While cough-variant asthma can happen to anybody, children are most vulnerable to it. Since many children go on to develop asthma, it’s important to be alert to the early symptoms. In addition, you should speak with an asthma specialist if your child has a chronic dry cough.

Can cough-variant asthma be treated?

If you have a cough that won’t go away, seeing an allergist can help determine the root cause and determine the appropriate treatment options. Allergists are specifically trained to diagnose and treat patients who have asthma, allergies, and immunologic diseases. No other physician specialty has this level of expertise in treating patients with these conditions.

Once diagnosed, our physicians can develop an asthma management plan to help relieve the coughing attacks. Medications that our doctors can prescribe may include fast-acting and daily maintenance medications. For example, a bronchodilator inhaler expands the airways in the lungs and offers quick relief, whereas a corticosteroid inhaler relieves inflammation when used daily. Often both types are needed, but if these are not enough, our physicians can discuss other asthma treatment options.

How can I get treatment for my cough-variant asthma?

If you’re struggling to cope with your asthma, contact the Allergy & Asthma Specialists team. Our practice cares for patients with allergies and asthma in Lansdale, Collegeville, Pottstown, Jenkintown, Doylestown, King of Prussia, Blue Bell, and Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Call 1(800)86-COUGH, option 2 or book online to schedule an appointment.