Wheezing and dry coughs are separate symptoms that can arise from a variety of respiratory ailments. If a wheezing dry cough occurs all at once, that may be a sign of a serious health problem and medical care should be sought out. Read on to learn more about wheezing dry cough.
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Wheezing is a high-pitched whistling or rattling sound during breathing (particularly during an exhale) as a result of constricted or inflamed airways. Wheezes are usually audible to the naked ear, but sometimes they can only be heard with a stethoscope.
Wheezing symptoms can be caused by:
- Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) particularly during a respiratory infection
- Bronchiolitis or bronchitis
- Heart failure
- Allergic reactions e.g insect stings
- Foreign objects in the airways
- Aspirin, or other medicines
- Sleep apnea
- Lung cancer
- GERD (gastro-esophageal reflux disease)
A cough is very common and is one of the most frequent reasons for a doctor visit. Although a cough can be irritating and uncomfortable, it is actually a helpful reflex. Despite this, a cough may be a sign of a larger problem.
Frequent triggers of a short term cough include:
- Upper and lower respiratory tract infections (caused by a virus, e.g. the common cold or influenza)
- Postnasal drip
- Allergies (e.g. allergic rhinitis)
- Acid reflux
- Irritants (e.g. smoke, vapors, mold, or others)
- Lung clot
- Lung collapse
- Heart failure
Triggers of chronic coughs include:
- Lung infections (e.g. tuberculosis)
- Lung cancer
Some coughs produce fluids such as a “productive cough” (coughing up phlegm) or hemoptysis (coughing up blood). A dry cough on the other hand does not expel any phlegm or fluid.
Wheezing dry cough (combined)
A dry cough is generally innocuous, but when accompanied by other symptoms a dry cough can be a sign of something quite serious. Contact a doctor right away if you have a dry cough combined with any of these symptoms:
- Wheezing dry cough
- Chest pain when not coughing
- Coughing only at night
- Dry cough begins to produce blood
If you have a wheezing dry cough it could be a sign of:
- Asthma. Narrowed and swollen airways that produce extra mucus.
- Emphysema. Damaged air sacks in the lungs usually caused by smoke inhalation.
- GERD. Chronic backflow of stomach acid into the esophagus.
- Heart failure. Gradual weakening of the heart’s ability to pump blood.
- Lung cancer.
Bronchitis, COPD, and pulmonary edema can be accompanied by wheezing; but coughs with these issues usually produce mucus or frothy sputum.
If you think you are suffering from a wheezing dry cough book an appointment with a PlushCare physician today.