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For years my dust mite allergy gave me a chronic cough. But I didn’t realize I why or how to stop it.
A chronic cough is one symptom of dust mite allergy and although it may not be a painful symptom, it is certainly annoying.
A cough is usually dry. It can be a simple clearing of the throat or a full on cough due to not being able to breathe (asthma).
A chronic cough due to dust mite allergy can occur during the day, at night, and even while sleeping. It can prevent you from getting a good nights sleep, causing you to wake up tired and irritable.
In this article, I’ll share my experience with a chronic cough and the steps I took to solve the problem. Due to my dust mite allergy – which I didn’t know I had – I suffered from a chronic cough for years before realizing why.
Hopefully, the information I provide helps you address your chronic cough!
What Is Chronic Cough
According to the Mayo Clinic, a chronic cough is a cough that lasts eight weeks or longer (or four weeks or longer in kids). The most common causes are:
Tobacco (smokers cough)
Today I’ll focus on postnasal drip and asthma because both are tied to the allergic response.
A chronic cough is usually a cough that occurs above the neck. By “above the neck” I mean it’s not a deep, loose cough that people experience with a cold.
A chronic cough doesn’t have to be associated with a runny nose either. It can be something as simple as clearing the throat – over and over again.
Why Are Dust Mites And Chronic Cough Related
Unlike most allergens, dust mites are a year-round allergy. When people experience pollen allergy, they usually have symptoms for a few weeks to a few months per year. A seasonal allergy makes symptoms easier to understand.
Dust mites live in our homes where they live and reproduce all year. They can cause allergy symptoms to remain constant all year.
The problem with dust mites is 1) we can see them and as a result 2,) people aren’t aware of them.
I grew up with dust mite allergy but I had no idea what they were. It wasn’t until years later when I was tested for allergies, did I learn about dust mites.
My ignorance in my early life made me ignore the obvious symptoms. And since my symptoms were constant, I figured it was “my normal” and not an allergy.
In high school, I began to experience a tickle in my throat. I would clear my throat and the irritation would disappear. It happened again and again. Gradually the throat clearing occurred every few minutes.
It developed so slowly that I even realize I was doing it! Eventually, someone asked why I kept clearing my throat, then another person asked. Reality set in and I knew I had to get help.
Post-Nasal Drip Causing My Chronic Cough
Years later, after being diagnosed with dust mite allergy, I educated myself on the symptoms. I learned that allergic rhinitis was likely causing my post nasal drip and therefore causing my chronic cough.
Due to my allergies, my sinuses were producing excess mucus to fight off the allergens. The mucous was running down (dripping) down the back of my throat and causing a near-constant clearing of my throat.
My allergic cough was due to mucous in the back of my throat, not from a cold. It wasn’t natural. In subsequent years my allergist prescribed allergy immunotherapy to completely eliminate my rhinitis and post nasal drip.
I stopped coughing, I could breathe out of my nose, and because of these two things, I slept better. For the first time in 2 decades, I began waking up feeling rested and energized.
Does Chronic Cough Mean I Have Asthma
Although having a chronic cough can be an indication of asthma, it doesn’t mean you have asthma (read my article about dust mites and asthma).
I’ve worked with my allergist for years and I’ve never had asthma, however, I did have a chronic cough.
Asthma is the result of an inflamed airway (swelling) and overproduction of mucus that makes it difficult for air to pass from your mouth to your lungs. An asthma attack will occur when there is significant swelling and mucous and breathing will be laborious – a feeling of suffocation.
If you have asthma then you may experience a chronic cough and you need to be careful it doesn’t turn into an asthma attack (inhalers prescribed by your doctor can help). However, you may be experiencing a chronic cough for other reasons like post nasal drip which have more to do with your sinuses.
Allergy Cough Treatment: How To Stop Coughing From Allergies
A chronic cough caused by allergies can impact your health in many ways. It can impact sleep quality, it can make you self-conscious, it can also impact you socially (lose friends).
So what should you do to treat a cough caused by allergies? The first step is to try and identify your allergy. If you’re not sure what your allergies are, you can start with these tips:
Start by writing a seasonal calendar and thinking about when you experience symptoms. Are they year-round or at certain times of the year?
For 1 week, take notes in an allergy journal. Write down when you’re experiencing the cough most. Mornings or nights?
If you know you’re allergic to dust mites you can do a few easy things before you visit an allergist. These DIY fixes don’t cost a lot of money and can be done within a few days.
Is there a lot of dust in your home? If so, Clean!
Do you have dust mite protectors on your pillow and mattress?
Have you ever tried a HEPA air purifier for allergies? These work great in the bedroom
Do you have carpeting or many rugs in the house? These trap dust and provide hiding places for dust mites
Do you keep pets in the house? Pets provide plenty of dander and hair – dust mite food!
Supplements and vitamins can reduce inflammation and the allergic response – they are natural!
Have you tried taking a daily antihistamine? Take an antihistamine for a week and monitor your chronic cough. I prefer Allegra non-drowsy.
These actions helped me clean my home and kept dust to a minimum around the house. The bed covers really made a difference because dust mites thrive in our beds.
The most important step to take is to find out your allergies. Maybe you know you’re allergic to dust mites. Maybe you just suspect you’re allergic to dust mites. Either way, you’re not alone. Over 20 million people have dust mite allergy and many of them experience a chronic cough.
What helped me the most was allergy immunotherapy. Allergy immunotherapy isn’t a synthetic medicine, it’s a natural process that makes your body stop reacting to dust mites (and other allergens too).
And it’s the closest thing to a cure.
I’ve been on allergy immunotherapy for 4 years and I no longer have a chronic cough or sinus problems (I still put up with minor symptoms like eczema though). Allergy immunotherapy is worth a try if you are fed up with your symptoms.
A chronic cough caused by dust mite allergy can be extremely annoying. It’s even annoying to your family members.
But ignoring a chronic cough is a big mistake. When we cough our body is telling us that something isn’t right. An allergic cough is usually caused by post-nasal drip (from rhinitis) or from asthma.
To much mucous in our throat can make it difficult to breathe, which makes it difficult to exercise, eat, laugh, and sleep. For me, sleeping was affected by my chronic cough. It caused me to wake up at night and I didn’t receive a full night’s rest.
If you have dust mite allergy and chronic cough you should be extra mindful of the dust in your bedroom and bed. Dust mites love our beds – especially our pillows and mattresses.
If you’re unsure whether you’re allergic to dust mites it’s wise to monitor your symptoms. Write them down, examine whether they are seasonal or year-round, and you can make some easy changes to your home (cleanliness, bed covers, air purifiers etc.).
When you decide to visit an allergist your doctor will appreciate the notes you’ve taken regarding your symptoms.
My dust mite allergy caused my chronic cough for years. Unfortunately, it took a few decades to notice it and get treatment. I wish I’d done so earlier and I would have saved a lot of time, money, and pain.
Hopefully, this article helps you understand and manage your allergic chronic cough. Be sure to check out my other blog articles for more helpful information on dust mites and dust mite allergy. Thanks for reading!