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Night coughing can be troubling if chronic cough at night

Your "Coughing at Night" Health Resource

A good time to find a cure to your nighttime coughing is to start looking today Night coughing is a cough that gets progressively worse at night, or possibly only happens at night. The following medical conditions are some of the possible causes of night coughing. If your night coughing is persistent, ask your doctor about your night coughing condition.

Coughing is an important way to keep your throat and airways clear. However, excessive or Picture of a young girl coughing chronic night coughing may mean you have an underlying disease or disorder, such as spinal meningitis, bronchitis, bacterial spinal meningitis, or possibly emphysema.

Some coughs are dry, while others are considered productive. A productive cough is one that brings up mucus. Mucus is also called phlegm or sputum.

Coughs can be either acute or chronic:

Causes of Coughing

Besides recent upper airways infections, such as the common cold and flu, other common causes of coughs and include:

If a child has a barking cough, it is usually the croup.

Home Care for Coughing

Although coughing can be a troubling symptom, it is usually your body's way of healing. Here are some tips to help ease your cough:

NOTE: Medical experts have recommended against using cough and cold drugs in children under the age of 6. Talk to your doctor before your child takes any type of over-the-counter cough medicine, even if it is labeled for children. These medicines likely will not work for children, and they may have serious side effects in kids.

Medications available without a prescription include:

Do not expect a doctor to prescribe antibiotics for viral infections like colds or flu. Antibiotics do not work on viruses. Antibiotics also will not help coughs caused by allergies.

When to Contact a Medical Professional

Call 911 if you have:

Call your doctor right away if you have:

What to Expect at Your Office Visit

In emergency cases, the patient will be treated first to stabilize the condition. After the condition is stable, the doctor will ask questions about your cough, including:

  • Are you coughing up blood? (How much, how often)
  • Do you bring up any mucus/sputum when you cough? What does it look like? Is it thick and hard to cough up? How much sputum is produced per day?
  • Is the cough severe? Is the cough dry sounding?
  • Is mostly coughing-at-night only an issue?
  • Does the cough sound like a seal barking?
  • What is the pattern of the cough? Did it begin suddenly? Has it been increasing recently? Is the cough worse at night? When you first awaken?
  • How long has the cough lasted?
  • Is the cough worse when you are lying on one side?
  • Are there sudden periodic attacks of coughing with gagging and vomiting?
  • What other symptoms are present?

The physical examination will include emphasis on the ears, nose, throat, and chest.

Diagnostic tests that may be performed include:

  • Bronchoscopy
  • Lung scan
  • Pulmonary function tests
  • Sputum analysis (if the cough produces sputum)
  • X-ray of the chest

Prevention of Coughing

  • Don't smoke and stay away from secondhand smoke.
  • If you have seasonal allergies like hay fever, stay indoors during days when airborne allergens are high. If possible, keep the windows closed and use an air conditioner. Avoid fans that draw in air from outdoors. Shower and change your clothes after being outside.
  • If you have allergies year round, cover your pillows and mattress with dust mite covers, use an air purifier, and avoid pets and other triggers.

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