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Uncontrollable Cough
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jonquilemm posted:
My family has yet to find any kind of solution to this problem, so here goes:

My mother has a peculiar issue that arises every time she gets sick with a cold; as a teacher, that happens with some regularity. Her problem is that a few days into the cold, she develops a cough that will not stop, she just keeps coughing continuously for hours at a time. It is worst, of course, at night, when she is in any sort of reclined position, no matter how mild the incline is. She can sometimes stop completely for a stretch of time if she is standing up, but that's about the only way. Trust that we have tried virtually every over the counter medication for coughs, not to mention every variety of cough drop known to man. I'm never sure of how to advise her, and it seems as though the doctors she's seen have similarly been at a loss. I've never been in any situation where I couldn't bring a cough under control with the use of over the counter medicine, tea, cough drops, and/or just relaxing and breathing slowly and steadily. She says it feels as though there is some kind of "trigger" that just won't stop firing, for lack of a better term. She can't sleep, and (big surprise) neither can anyone in the house as a result. I have actually resorted to sleeping in my car in the middle of a Wisconsin winter to get some sleep. Has anyone, anyone at all, heard of something like this?
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Rod_Moser_PA_PhD responded:
Your mother needs to be seen by a specialist -- a pulmonologist (lung specialist). Finding the cause is really the key to finding a solution, but unfortunately, I have no way of diagnosing her over the Internet -- I don't know anything about her history, nor can I examine her or order any diagnostic tests. As much as I would like to offer you some profound insight, I just do not have enough information -- information that can only be obtained first-hand during a medical encounter.


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