We have just gone through the spring season and, as usual, we had many patients complaining about their spring cough. Many of them were convinced that they had allergies and some who allowed testing were found to have some allergies, but this year the exams and complaints were complicated because of a viral infection that spread through our community. This viral infection was associated with persistent cough even after the patient felt better. We initially treated these patients with a variety of therapies including prednisone and cough suppressants. Most continued to cough despite these efforts.
Some patients received multiple courses of antibiotics, which could have been dangerous. For the most part, the treatment was a tincture of time with symptoms resolving in several weeks to as much as several months. We did check in certain patients to see if they had some specific markers for unusual infections, but for the most part time was the treatment.
Now that summer is here we see a new brand of coughs. Some are due to pollens and allergens, but many are due to inflammation in the nose that is sensitive to changes in air temperature. When the weather gets hot and sticky those of us lucky enough to have air conditioning turn it on. Going in and out of areas that are cool and areas that are hot creates a type of irritation in the nose and sinus areas which results in congestion and mucous production. Treatments help some but are often expensive and only partially effective.