ZocdocAnswersCould my cough and itch be caused by a worm?

Question

Could my cough and itch be caused by a worm?

I once read about a worm that travels in blood and reaches lungs. Then it causes one to cough and gets swallowed and enters the stomach/intestine where it reproduces. The young worms enter the bloodstream and again whole cycle begins. I can't remember which worm it was as I read this long time ago. Which worm is it. One also feels some itching on body. I have been experiencing cough as well as itch for last eight years. I want to ascertain if its this worm that's responsible.

Answer

Several different parasitic roundworms travel through the lungs and are swallowed into the intestines as part of their lifecycle. These include hookworms and Ascaris. However, these infections are quite rare in the United States. Additionally, the migration through the lungs is generally a one-time event, so it would be responsible for just a single episode of cough and other respiratory symptoms. In other words, it is very unlikely, that your condition is caused by a worm infection because of both your geographic location and also the chronic-nature of your symptoms. I would suggest that you go to see your primary care doctor about this issue. Chronic cough is an important medical symptom, and it needs to be investigated carefully to help figure out what could be going on, as there are many possibilities. For example, some of the more common causes of chronic cough include nasal allergies, chronic sinus congestion and drainage, acid reflux, and poorly controlled asthma. In addition to these, chronic cough can sometimes be a sign of a more serious problem, such as a lung tumor. It may also be a side effect of some medications, including some medications commonly used to treat high blood pressure. See your doctor as soon as you can!

This answer is for general informational purposes only and is not a substitute for professional medical advice.

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