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Should I consult a doctor if I have dry cough?

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ENT Specialist
Practicing since : 2008
Answered : 662 Questions
Hello Dr.,
I am 32 years old, I weigh 129 lbs, and I am 5'4". I had a baby 8 months ago.
For the past two weeks I have had post nasal drip, dry itch in my throat (that leads to a hacking cough), sinus pressure and a vibrating sensation in my right lung when I breathe (no pain just a weird sensation). I've also been feeling very anxious as well as a general sense of malaise.
I'm not sure if these are symptoms of a cold or allergies, or possibly something more serious.
I've tried OTC cold medicine and now I'm taking Mucinex DM and Benadryl, which seems to be helping a little. My insurance coverage does not start until next month. Should I pay out of pocket & go into see a Dr. now?
I am really concerned about the sensation in my right lung, b/c I have been a light smoker for the past 8 years and b/c a non-smoking friend my age was recently diagnosed w. lung cancer.

I'm just worried and desperate to feel better so that I can take care of my 8 month old.
Thanks in advance for your advice.
Posted Tue, 24 Apr 2012 in Ear, Nose and Throat Problems
Answered by Dr. Puneet Maheshwari 33 minutes later

Thanks for the query.

In my opinion, you should not wait, do consult a Pulmonologist as soon as possible and from today onwards, STOP TOBACCO USE.

NOW, let me tell you some important features of lung cancer...
Lung cancer is cancer that starts in the lungs.

The lungs are located in the chest. They help you breathe. When you breathe, air goes through your nose, down your windpipe (trachea), and into the lungs, where it spreads through tubes called bronchi.

There are two main types of lung cancer:

Non-small cell lung cancer is the most common type of lung cancer.

Small cell lung cancer makes up about 20% of all lung cancer cases.

If the lung cancer is made up of both types, it is called mixed small cell/large cell cancer.

Cigarette smoking is the leading cause of lung cancer.


A new cough that doesn't go away
-Changes in a chronic cough or "smoker's cough"
-Coughing up blood, even a small amount
-Shortness of breath
-Chest pain

BUT IN YOUR CASE YOU HAVE ONLY COMPLAINTS OF Post nasal drip, dry throat, vibration like sensation in lungs.

These symptoms, never point towards the lung cancer, so, need not to worry much.

But get yourself investigated completely. It will include the following tests--

#Chest x-ray

#Sputum cytology test to look for cancer cells

#General Blood picture.

#CT scan of the chest

So, please don't wait much to consult a Pulmonologist, and secondly, I am again emphasizing to quit smoking. It is never too late to stop smoking. Your risk of lung cancer drops dramatically the first year after you quit. You should also avoid breathing in the smoke from other people's cigarette.

Hope this will help you,

I am ready for future follow ups.

Above answer was peer-reviewed by
Follow-up: Should I consult a doctor if I have dry cough? 48 minutes later
Hello Dr.,

Thank you for your reply.

I am DONE with tobacco. Since my medical coverage begins next month (in about 2 weeks), do you think I should be ok, to wait until then?

I know you advised not to wait much, but if possible I would like to wait until my coverage starts because money is very tight right now.

Also, given my symptoms, what do you think is the issue? Allergies? Cold? Something more serious? Is there any other medication I should be taking instead?

What could be the reason behind the vibrating sensation on my right side when I breathe?

I usually get a cold at least once a year, which includes sore throat, post nasal drip, congestion, and coughing up yellow phlegm.

What I am experiencing now is different. I do not feel the need to cough anything up. When I blow my nose, the mucous is clear. I just feel the post nasal drip, the dry cough and the weird sensation when I breathe. I also feel anxiety and malaise.

I think I am panicking more b/c I currently do not have medical coverage. I am trying really hard not to worry, so any assurance or information you can provide to put my mind at ease would be very much appreciated.

Thank you!

Answered by Dr. Puneet Maheshwari 13 hours later

Thanks for the query,

No problem, you may wait for 2 weeks, most probably you are suffering from rhinosinusitis, and for this condition in the mean time take a cure of decongestant, a mucolytic and steam inhalation.

You too would require a course of Antibiotics, please see a doctor for the prescription.

Its good that, its done with tobacco. The reason behind the vibratory sensation in lungs may be lower respiratory tract infection.

Don't worry, you will be fine.

Hope this answers your query.

Wish you a good health.
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