Why won't this persistent cough go away?

Cougher asked...

I've had persistent coughing for the last six months, hoarseness and a low grade fever. My chest and back area hurt due to the persistent cough. It is a hacking cough. I've been on several different types of antibotics, cough medication with codeine, a Z - pak, steroid shot and OTC (over the counter) medication to no avail. I cannot speak for long periods without having a coughing spell that lasts for about ten minutes. I am beginning to lose energy and cannot sleep through the night due to the persistent coughing.

Expert Answer

Jennifer Serafin, N.P. is a registered nurse and geriatric nurse practitioner at the Jewish Homes for the Aged in San Francisco.

I hope that you are being seen by a health care professional for this cough!  If not, then go see one right away.  If you have seen someone already and they haven't helped you, I would add that they need to send you to a pulmonologist (lung doctor) to see if anymore testing can be done to determine why you are coughing.

Many of the things that cause a chronic cough are:

  • Allergies/ Asthma
  • Acid reflux
  • Lung disease (chronic bronchitis- usually from smoking)
  • Medications (any of the ACE inhibitors)
  • TB
  • Lung cancer

If you are smoking- stop!  This will make coughing worse.  Pay attention to when the cough happens (all day, at night, in the morning).  Cut down on milk products, as this will reduce phlegm.

If you cannot see a pulmonologist because your insurance won't let you or you have no money, then insist that your health care professional really look into this problem. 

Good Luck!