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Having cough. Quit smoking. On antibiotics. Effect of smoking?

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General & Family Physician
Practicing since : 2001
Answered : 10215 Questions
My husband has cough since the last month. He has even finished taking the antibiotic course from a medicine specialist that we consulted in Apollo. Just to keep you informed, he has a smoking history of 8 years however he has quit smoking 2 years back, having said that, occasionally, when we are on a holiday he still smokes 2-3 cigarettes a day. We have not seen any side effects of smoking on him as of now.

Taking about this cough, it actually got aggravated when he smoked some cigarettes at a party with friends.

Can you suggest whether we should consult a Pulmonary specialist, a chest specialist or which department should we consult? you can email back to me at YYYY@YYYY or call me on 0000.
Posted Wed, 29 May 2013 in Lung and Chest disorders
Answered by Dr. Michelle Gibson James 42 minutes later
Hi, thanks for using healthcare magic

A cough is called chronic cough if it last more than 6 weeks, if it is less than this time it is still called acute cough.

Chronic or prolonged cough can be related to :(1) post viral cough- a cough related to a recent viral illness can last up to 6 weeks and normally is only considered abnormal if it lasts beyond time

(2) asthma or COPD . Asthma would normally present with a cough that is worse in the nights or early morning.
COPD can occur in persons with a history of smoking ,it is due to damage of the airway. They are two types, persons may have only one or both.

(3) postnasal drip- a post nasal drip can cause a persistent cough , it would occur in persons with allergies or with a cold due to increased mucus production

(4) gastroesophageal reflux- sometimes coughing is the only symptom in persons with reflux, the cough occurs because of the acid coming up and irritating the throat.

If he had a recent cough and cold , it is possible that he is in the post viral stage and as stated this cough can last up to 6 weeks.
Cigarette smoking would aggravate any coughing because of irritating effect on the lung.

If he can detect postnasal drip ( feeling of mucus in the back of the throat, constant clearing of the throat)- then he can consider the use of a topical nose spray and a cough syrup combining an antihistamine with a decongestant.

If the coughing is worse on evenings or nights it would imply that the bronchi or bronchioles ( the passages in the lung ) is contributing to the cough. In that case he would need a brondilator medication. These are given in oral form ( often combined with a mucolytic to help with a wet cough) or an an inhalor.

He can consider seeing either a GP or a pulmonologist. It may be best to see a GP who can then refer to a good pulmonologist if it is necessary.
A pulmonologist would normally see if there is no relief from the treatment already initiated by the GP.

I hope this helps, feel free to ask any other questions

Above answer was peer-reviewed by
Follow-up: Having cough. Quit smoking. On antibiotics. Effect of smoking? 12 minutes later

Thank you so much for the detailed reply. He did have recent cough and cold. He was also running fever for which the doctor said, he is suffering from a Viral Infection. This has given me much relief. Being a wife, I was constantly worried about his cough given his smoking history.

I am interpreting GP as a General Physician, please correct me if I am wrong.

One last quick question for you. Are there any health check tests to identify any damages caused by smoking in our body?
Answered by Dr. Michelle Gibson James 1 hour later

Yes GP is general physician

You are right to worry, smoking can have alot of negative effects. At present there are no specific test to determine if smoking has resulted in any damage.

It can cause heart disease so he can have a heart examination and ECG (checks the rhythm and rate of the heart, any areas with reduced blood supply)

A CXR would identify any problems that may have occurred with the longs but this is not usually recommended unless there are long term symptoms

If he maintains a healthy lifestyle now with exercise and eating well then he should be ok

Please feel free to ask any other questions
Above answer was peer-reviewed by
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