Asthma and Post Nasal Drip

Patient

Q: My husband, a relatively healthy 35-year-old, has asthma and as long as I have known him gets these bad attacks where his inhaler will not help him. It seems to start with him coughing up a bunch of post nasal drip and mucus and then he will gag until he sometimes vomits. It is worse when he has indigestion. I am starting to worry about this, he is stubborn, doesn't want to go back to see his doctor. Only medication he uses is a rescue inhaler, and he is a social smoker (5 cigarettes a week at most). Any advice you can give us? Or is this maybe not even related to asthma?

Doctor

A:   From your description it seems that these cough bouts may not be due to asthma but it could be the post nasal drip which irritates his throat and triggers cough and may end up in vomiting. You need to determine the cause of the post nasal drip to treat his recurrent episodes of cough. If it is caused by cold or allergies, he may try over-the-counter allergy medications that contain antihistamines and eliminate the excess mucous. Also available are the over-the-counter nasal sprays, that can be used for the treatment of the post nasal drip. Increased water intake would help thin out the mucous, preventing buildup in the throat and nose and lessening the likelihood of coughing. Gargles with salt solution mixture can cleanse the back of the throat and suck on lozenges would lubricate the throat, alleviating itchiness and irritation that leads to coughing.

From your description it seems that these cough bouts may not be due to asthma but it could be the post nasal drip which irritates his throat and triggers cough and may end up in vomiting. You need to determine the cause of the post nasal drip to treat his recurrent episodes of cough. If it is caused by cold or allergies, he may try over-the-counter allergy medications that contain antihistamines and eliminate the excess mucous. Also available are the over-the-counter nasal sprays, that can be used for the treatment of the post nasal drip. Increased water intake would help thin out the mucous, preventing buildup in the throat and nose and lessening the likelihood of coughing. Gargles with salt solution mixture can cleanse the back of the throat and suck on lozenges would lubricate the throat, alleviating itchiness and irritation that leads to coughing.


 

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