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How do I treat my cough at night?

Tuesday July 24, 2012

How do I treat my cough at night? I am interested in any suggestions that would help in regards to controlling a cough while sleeping at night. I have tried 1 & 2 pillows, drinking water, having a mint to keep my mouth moist and nothing works.

Cough at night can have many causes so it is first very important to define the cause of your cough.  The following is a partial list of causes of cough at night:

  • Heart disease such as congestive heart failure
  • Primary lung problems
  • Nose and sinus disease
  • Certain medicines
  • Parkinson’s related  swallowing problems such as aspiration (food, drink and saliva entering the air passages rather than the esophagus)
  • Gastric reflux

Treatments vary and include medicine changes, swallowing therapy, breathing treatments.  Be sure to see your primary doctor for a complete evaluation if your cough persists despite the treatments.  In some cases a consultation with a cardiologist, pulmonologist or Ear Nose and Throat specialist may be needed.  Sometimes coughing can be the only sign of aspiration so a swallowing therapist is also an important step for a Parkinson’s patient.  This specialist can recommend additional swallowing tests, therapy to improve safe swallowing, safe foods and liquids to try.  If you are having trouble with too much secretions, your neurologist may recommend certain medicines, botulinum toxin therapies.   Some people find that papaya fruit or juice reduces thick secretions that are hard to clear.

Since there are so many causes of coughing, it is important that you do not treat the symptoms but first find the cause. Your primary doctor and Neurologist together can set you on the right path.

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