Suggest treatment for persistent cough in an elderly person

Posted on Tue, 16 Feb 2016 in Ear, Nose and Throat Problems
Question: My husband 94 years, healthy for his age, has constant phlegmy cough. Is there a cure?
Answered by Dr. Michelle Gibson James 2 hours later
Brief Answer:
post nasal drip is the most common cause of chronic cough

Detailed Answer:
HI, thanks for using healthcare magic

The most common causes for persistent/chronic cough are: (1)post nasal drip (2) GERD- reflux (3) asthma

Post nasal drip is the most common of these 3. Some persons may not be aware of the drip of mucus to the back of the throat and present with the signs/symptoms of the drip such as cough.

Post nasal drip is treated with the use of decongestants/anti histamine combination. Topical nose sprays would also be helpful as well eg nasocort, nasonex, flonase, rhinocort

If he has reflux symptoms such as burning discomfort in the chest, acid taste in the mouth, bloating, nausea then he may need to consider reflux medication

I hope this helps, feel free to ask any other questions
Above answer was peer-reviewed by : Dr. Chakravarthy Mazumdar
Follow up: Dr. Michelle Gibson James 3 days later
Since he already uses your suggestions I have to accept that we are stuck with the problem. Thankyou.
Answered by Dr. Michelle Gibson James 7 hours later
Brief Answer:
then consider NAEB or asthma if using medication consistently

Detailed Answer:

If he is already consistently using medications for post nasal drip (the nasal sprays , decongestants and antihistamines) and reflux medication then other less common causes would need to be considered eg asthma or a condition called non asthmatic eosinophilic bronchitis (NAEB).

NAEB is the cause in 13 to 33% of persons with persistent coughing.
It is diagnosed easily with a sputum sample showing increased amounts of a type of white blood cells called eosinophils.
Treated by using steroid inhalors (like used in asthma), response is within 4 weeks

Above answer was peer-reviewed by : Dr. Chakravarthy Mazumdar
Answered by
Dr. Michelle Gibson James

General & Family Physician

Practicing since :2001

Answered : 16810 Questions


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