Can allergies cause a cough or are you getting sick? It can be tricky to tell the difference. We’re here to break down the symptoms of a cold vs allergies.
Did you know that worldwide, between 10% and 30% of the population have allergic rhinitis? Hay fever is also quite widespread, having affected 7.5% of the global adult population in 2012. In children, the annual prevalence rate of this type of seasonal allergy is about 9%.
In the US alone, allergies affect more than 50 million people each year. That makes them the sixth primary cause of chronic illnesses in the nation.
If you have allergies yourself, you may have wondered, “can allergies cause a cough?”
Yes, some types of allergies can indeed induce coughing. We’ll get into more detail below, so be sure to read on.
How Can Allergies Cause a Cough?
Allergy coughs often occur due to the irritation or the inflammation of the airways. The swelling, in turn, develops as the immune system releases substances called “antibodies”. Once in your system, the antibodies can make your sinuses or airways swell up.
The inflammation is a natural response of the body in an attempt to get rid of an “allergen.” In most cases, allergens are harmless substances. In people with allergies, though, they cause an exaggerated immune reaction.
Suppose that you have a pollen allergy. If you breathe in pollen, it will trigger your immune system to produce antibodies. Your airways may then get inflamed, and you might have a hard time breathing.
If this happens, you can end up with coughing fits. Your cough, in this case, is a reflex reaction of your body to try to get rid of the allergen in your system.
What Kind of Cough Can an Allergy Induce?
Coughs from allergies often take the form of a chronic dry cough. It’s the type of dry cough that lasts for more than three weeks.
The “dry” in dry cough refers to how the coughing doesn’t produce mucus. Instead, you may feel like something is tickling the back of your throat. This sensation usually triggers the cough reflex, resulting in hacking coughs.
What Types of Allergies Can Cause Coughs?
One culprits are seasonal allergies like hay fever. However, any type of allergy that causes your airways to swell can induce coughs. The same goes for mold and food allergies.
One more thing: both respiratory allergies and asthma can also put you at risk of dry coughs. Having allergies, in turn, can increase your risk of developing asthma. So, it’s best to limit your exposure to allergens so that you can avoid both coughs and asthma attacks.
What Other Types of Allergens Can Induce Coughs?
Did you know that there are at least 144,000 known species of fungi? Some of these, unfortunately, can contaminate the air inside your home. What’s more, fungi are a well-established type of allergens.
As mentioned above, mold allergies can make you prone to coughing fits. Worldwide , it is estimated that about 3 to 10% of people are allergic to molds. So long as this allergen is in the air, you might find yourself developing a long-lasting cough.
Also, if you have sensitivities to dust and debris, they may be behind your coughs. Do note that this can happen whether you’re outside or indoors.
For starters, experts say that about two-thirds of indoor dust consists of outdoor dust. The rest are indoor source as pet dander, hair, mold spores, and shed skin, to name a few. That’s why it’s vital to address air quality inside your home, especially if you have allergies.
Are Coughs from Allergies Preventable?
Yes! Just like with any type of allergy, you can keep such allergic reactions at bay by avoiding allergens. If you’re unsure of what you’re sensitive or allergic to, you may want to see an allergist too.
In the meantime, here are some ways to minimize your risks for future reactions
Monitor Your Area’s Air Quality
In the US alone, almost half of the population lives in places with unhealthy air. If you’re one of these individuals, it’s best to stay on top of your location’s air quality reports. This way, you can better map out your plans for the day and avoid going out if there’s a spike in outdoor air pollution.
Shut the Doors and Windows
If you experience seasonal allergy symptoms, it’s best to stay indoors. However, you should also close doors and windows to prevent allergens from entering. Make sure you seal off gaps in doors and windows, too, as pollutants can still pass through these.
Keep Your Indoor Air Clean
You might also want to consider investing in high-performance air purifiers. The best systems can combat all types of air contaminants. They can clear the air of bacteria, viruses, pollen, fungi, and dust.
Maintain Optimal Indoor Humidity Levels
While the best air purifiers can destroy fungi, it’s still best to address humidity issues at home. That’s because high levels of humidity can trigger ongoing mold or fungi growth. The spores they release, in turn, can trigger your allergy (or asthma) and make you cough.
Besides, having high indoor humidity levels often indicate moisture problems. You may have water leaks at home that not only waste water and money but can also damage your property. Indeed, the average home in the US have leaks that waste 10,000 gallons of water each year!
Do note that low humidity can also trigger reactions, as it can make the air too dry. Dry air can exacerbate allergies or asthma, so it can also lead to coughing fits.
Control Your Allergies So You Can Stop Throwing Coughing Fits
There you have it, the guide that fully addresses your question, “can allergies cause a cough?” Now that you know they can, it’s time to address those allergens and limit your exposure to them. The less contact you have with these triggers, the lower your risks of having coughing fits.
Are you interested in learning more about how to purify the air in your home? If so, then please know that our team here at Airfree is more than happy to help! Ring us up or drop us a line, and we’ll get back to you as soon as we can.