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? Continue reading article