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What causes dry cough and stuffy nose?

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Posted on Sat, 14 May 2016
Question: coughing for 3 weeks now, day and night. husband too...he has stuffy nose, but I only have the dry cough.
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Answered by Dr. Panagiotis Zografakis (24 minutes later)
Brief Answer:
probably infectious etiology

Detailed Answer:
Hello,

since both of you have respiratory symptoms, the most likely cause is an infection. The stuffy nose implies a viral infection, particularly since you haven't mentioned fever. Infections cough may become prolonged and last for even up to 2 months after the infection (post-infectious cough). Such cases are difficult to treat. The usual means are not effective in most patients. I'll mention some treatment options...

- cough suppressants, is the most obvious choice but they are not usually very effective particularly for post-infectious cough. Besides the common suppressants, some more potent ones can be chosen. These drugs contain opioids.
- antibiotic treatment with macrolides may treat some - not very common - bacterial infections that cause protracted cough like pertussis for example.
- ipratropium inhalers have been shown to be effective in some patients with post-infectious cough but the majority won't experience any improvement.

Your doctor has an important part in determining the best treatment for you. First of all, the doctor has to exclude the most serious causes of cough by clinically examining you, including heart failure, pulmonary embolism, etc and some usually less serious (but requiring different treatment) like allergic reactions, bronchial asthma, etc. A chest X-ray might be required depending on the findings.

So in conclusion, the aforementioned options may provide some relief to selected patients but not all patients will benefit from them. It's up to your doctor to select the appropriate option for you and also to exclude the most important cause of your symptoms.

Kind Regards!
Above answer was peer-reviewed by : Dr. Chakravarthy Mazumdar
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Answered by
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Dr. Panagiotis Zografakis

Internal Medicine Specialist

Practicing since :1999

Answered : 3775 Questions

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What causes dry cough and stuffy nose?

Brief Answer: probably infectious etiology Detailed Answer: Hello, since both of you have respiratory symptoms, the most likely cause is an infection. The stuffy nose implies a viral infection, particularly since you haven't mentioned fever. Infections cough may become prolonged and last for even up to 2 months after the infection (post-infectious cough). Such cases are difficult to treat. The usual means are not effective in most patients. I'll mention some treatment options... - cough suppressants, is the most obvious choice but they are not usually very effective particularly for post-infectious cough. Besides the common suppressants, some more potent ones can be chosen. These drugs contain opioids. - antibiotic treatment with macrolides may treat some - not very common - bacterial infections that cause protracted cough like pertussis for example. - ipratropium inhalers have been shown to be effective in some patients with post-infectious cough but the majority won't experience any improvement. Your doctor has an important part in determining the best treatment for you. First of all, the doctor has to exclude the most serious causes of cough by clinically examining you, including heart failure, pulmonary embolism, etc and some usually less serious (but requiring different treatment) like allergic reactions, bronchial asthma, etc. A chest X-ray might be required depending on the findings. So in conclusion, the aforementioned options may provide some relief to selected patients but not all patients will benefit from them. It's up to your doctor to select the appropriate option for you and also to exclude the most important cause of your symptoms. Kind Regards!