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Suffering from cough, headache and noticed swelling in head. What are the complication?

Answered by
Dr. Madhuri Patil


Practicing since :1999

Answered : 362 Questions

Posted on Wed, 2 Jan 2013 in Headache and Migraines
Question: I had what I thought was the flu about a month ago, all flu symptoms are gone but I have had this cough for about 3 weeks, along with the coughs it feels as if my head is going to explode. One morning I wond thought my head had swollen three times it's size. Can you help?
Answered by Dr. Madhuri Patil 2 hours later
Hi there.

The cough which follows a flu-viral kind of fever is called 'post-viral' syndrome. It takes its own time to disappear. In your case it is also giving you headache while coughing. This makes me ask you questions:
- Do you also have sputum coming along the cough? If yes, what colour?
- Do you get wheezing kind of symptoms or sounds other than normal breath sound from your chest?
- If you try to press against your eyebrows, do you get bad pain?

Please answer these questions to help me better explain on this problem.
Meanwhile, if you think the cough is dry then please take steam inhalation at least twice a day, drink only warm to hot fluids and use lozengels of your choice and use Acetaminophen round the clock for your headache and to bring down inflammatory irritation of your throat. This will reduce both headache and the cough in case it is dry in nature.

The swollen head feeling is the heaviness of head which generally comes when you get sinusitis post viral fever. Hence please answer the questions above and shall be able to make out if that's the case. But please understand that in that case you will have to visit your physician personally as prescribed antibiotics would be essential if he/ she confirms your problem is due to sinusitis.
I hope you understand. Take care.
Above answer was peer-reviewed by : Dr. Chakravarthy Mazumdar
Follow up: Dr. Madhuri Patil 12 hours later
I do cough up sputum but it is clear and thick, nowheezing, and no pain in the eyebrows. Just when I cough it feels as if my head if about to explode and I have tried everything to get rid of this cough.
Answered by Dr. Madhuri Patil 7 hours later
I understand that you might have tried your best for the cough. Please take a cough syrup that is available OTC and contains Dextromethorphan. Did you try it? It'll suppress the cough, which is non-infective, efficiently.
If the cough still does not reduce then you must see your physician who will also recommend a chest X-ray for this kind of long history of cough and will prescribe you antibiotics.
But as of now a cough suppressant, drinking only warm to hot fluids and applying ointments containing camphor or menthol to your throat/ chest are the only recommendations. You should not take expectorant as it is not necessary. I feel mostly a dose of antibiotics will be the next definitive step.
I hope you understand. Take care. And please let me know any related query you have.
Above answer was peer-reviewed by : Dr. Chakravarthy Mazumdar
Follow up: Dr. Madhuri Patil 17 hours later
What about the head pain everytime cough?
Answered by Dr. Madhuri Patil 8 hours later
As I said the headache with cough is mostly due to sinusitis which gets better with antibiotic treatment. Amoxicillin is the antibiotic of choice. If you have used Amoxicillin many times before then a combination of Amoxicillin and clavulanic acid is the best and a sureshot treatment. Till you see your physician for this prescription please keep taking tylenol round the clock. Also simultaneous use of cough suppressant will reduce your cough bouts and hence the trigger of headache.
The sinus linings which are inflammed after your viral fever might not induce fever at this stage but this kind of headache will be caused by them. Hence please do not delay seeing your doctor personally.
Take care.
Above answer was peer-reviewed by : Dr. Chakravarthy Mazumdar

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