Cough variant asthma is a type of asthma whose only symptom is cough.
Lung function is normal or mildly impaired but does not improve after bronchodilator medication.
In cough variant asthma, dry cough particularly at night is common.
The most common causes of cough variant asthma are sinusitis, gastro esophageal reflux and asthma.
But, the asthma is not so severe as to cause any wheezing.
Cough variant asthma should be recognized from regular asthma because cough can lead to bad sinuses, allergy problems or multiple colds.
Anyone with chronic cough that persists for longer than three weeks could have cough variant asthma.
Cough variant asthma has characteristics:
- Fever and sweating
- Chest pain
- Shortness of breath
- Coughing up phlegm that is disordered green, yellow, rusty brown or blood stained
- Worsening smoker’s cough
- Pain and swelling in the calf
- Whooping cough
- Sudden weight loss
Cough is the first symptom of asthma in children. It is necessary to inform the doctor of a persistent cough in children. As coughing is not asthma, find out the cause of cough so that the cause can be eliminated.
Cough variant asthma is usually non-productive where there is no build up of mucus. There is a unique sound associated with cough variant asthma that is more like a dry and wheezing sound that can last for so long that the child or adult end up sometimes gasping for air.
So, it can be said that persistent cough without any signs of mucus may be considered as cough variant asthma.
Cough can disturb the sleep of the patient as well as other members in the family. Coughing is a symptom, not the disease itself. Therefore, the cause should be investigated and treated.
Diagnosis and treatment:
Diagnosis is made by performing a test called methacholine challenge. Cough variant asthma should be differentiated from post-nasal drainage and gastro esophageal reflux. Sometimes cough can be caused by more than one problem.
Patients with cough variant asthma respond well to bronchodilators and corticosteroid drugs. Patients who are comfortable with inhaled therapy often do well with oral corticosteroids.
The long term benefit is likely to be obtained from steroid therapy, administered either orally or by inhalation. The inhaled medications should be managed from a dry powder device or a pressurized metered dose inhaler together with a spacer or aero chamber.
Besides bronchodilators and corticosteroids, scientists stated that black or green tea provides some relief against cough variant asthma. Honey also gives some relief [Ayurvedic treatment for asthma relief].
It is important for cough variant asthma to be treated as soon as possible in children and should not be neglected.
Self care for cough variant asthma:
- Avoid cigarette smoke, vapors and chemical fumes
- Stay indoors during humid season or when the pollen count is high
- Do not use fans in closed and dusty places
- Do not have close contact with pets
- House cleaning should be done by wet mopping rather than sweeping