Do you have a persistent cough that doesn’t want to go away?
Is it driving you nuts?
Lena had sinus issues.
She said her family doctor had made the comment years ago, that her nose was … “not a white man’s nose”.
Though a funny story, she was at a loss for exactly what that meant, and wondered if the doctor had racial issues.
All Lena knew was that her nose was always stuffed up.
She accepted the daily use of antihistamines as her lot in life.
They seemed harmless enough. Lena really didn’t notice any side effects, but then she had been using them for so many years she had lost count.
When I began to question Lena about her re-occurring persistent cough, I was actually hopeful that it could be caused by sinus issues.
Lena insisted that the cough was coming from her lungs.
Persistently coughing up clear mucus is indicative of fluid in your lungs. I was hopeful that Lena was wrong. Fluid in your lungs is a serious issue.
You can often verify fluid in the lungs by listening with a stethoscope, though that fluid will not show up on x-ray early on in the disease process.
In Lena’s case, when I listened to her back over the lowest three ribs on each side for the tell tale popping sounds of fluid, I heard nothing at all. I heard no air flow in or out.
If Lena had fluid in her lungs it was not audible.
I encouraged Lena to inquire with her doctor about getting an inhaler. Whether or not she had fluid in her lungs, Lena needed to ventilate better.
Lena’s doctor wouldn’t give her an order for an inhaler because she wasn’t wheezing.
After purchasing an over the counter inhaler and giving it a try, Lena was surprised how much more deeply she could breathe.
When I took a listen to her lungs she had little squeaks all over the place, but not necessarily fluid. This solved the problem of the lack of a prescription inhaler. Her doctor gave her one right away when she showed up at his office wheezing and squeaky.
However, the persistent cough continued.
I had mentioned to Lena that her daily antihistamine dosing might be problematic many times before. Shear sleep deprivation and fatigue ate away at her resistance until she was ready to take absolutely any advice and give it a try.
“How can I stop this cough?”
When I brought up the subject of antihistamines with Lena, she protested yet again. She couldn’t fathom the possibility that her harmless daily antihistamine could possibly be the culprit.
I had to pull out documentation of the side effects to stifle her argument, but that certainly GOT her attention.
She was shocked and in a state of disbelief so I gave her some time to digest the information.
Do you know the side effects of antihistamines?
Central nervous system reactions include:
- disturbed coordination
- blurred vision
- disturbing dreams/nightmares
- schizophrenic-like reactions
- nerve pain
- breathing difficulties
Overdoses may cause involuntary movements.
Gastrointestinal problems include:
- increased appetite
- decreased appetite
- upset stomach
Hematologic reactions are rare, but severe. These include:
- breakdown of red blood cells
- reduced platelets
- reduced white cells
- bone marrow failure
A large number of additional reactions have been reported.
Some of the other adverse effects are:
- chest tightness
- nasal stuffiness
- dry mouth, nose and throat
- sore throat
- ringing in the ears
- respiratory depression
- burning sensation in the nose
- difficulty urinating
Regardless of the chemical class of the drug, it is recommended that mothers not breast feed while taking antihistamines.
Never take antihistamines if you have any of the following:
- hyperthyroidism (overactive thyroid)
- high blood pressure
- enlarged prostate
- heart disease
- ulcers or other stomach problems
- stomach or intestinal blockage
- liver disease
- kidney disease
- bladder obstruction
- stomach ulcers
- lung problems
- difficulty urinating
- enlarged prostate
Lena finally came ready to commit to a trial period so that she could observe, with an open mind, her body’s reaction to life without antihistamines.
We discussed various treatment options and made a plan. Lena was already whining during the planning stages about her stuffy nose, and the complaining certainly got worse before it got better.
Lena really committed to her treatment plan, though. She was a trooper and her persistence with using a salt water flush via nettie pot, and frequent doses of Xlear Nasal Wash started to pay off. The longer Lena went without antihistamines the less squeaky her lungs became, and the less she coughed.
An even bigger surprise for Lena was how much more calm she felt. She said she hadn’t noticed that she was tense before, but she sure did feel better without the antihistamines making her feel irritable.
Lena’s persistent cough quickly became less intense. It gradually got looser and more productive, and then completely went away.
Lena finds that her bum sinuses need consistent self care but she is so pleased with life without antihistamine side effects that she is willing to keep working at it.
Antihistamines are very drying!
Moisture is important!
Do you need to go get a glass of water?
Go ahead and get one, I’ll wait.
… Got that glass of water?
Good make it your goal to drink more water every day.
What ever the cause of your persistent cough, staying hydrated will help.
Need more support to get to the bottom of your sinus issues?
Would a report on healing sinus infections help?
Click on the blue button and prepare to be enlightened…
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There are real answers to your sinus woes. Don’t risk the harm of using long term antihistamines!
Carrie Tucker, RCP
The Life Breath Coach
Heart Failure Solutions
PS– Remember everyday:
Relax and Release tension
Be active in a way that adds Joy to your life
Plus pure water ~whole foods~sunshine~and laughter