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"Can coughing cause one's airways to close?"

ZocdocAnswersCan coughing cause one's airways to close?


I haven't had asthma since I was a kid, and I'm 38 now. Just the other day, I had a really serious coughing fit, and I was left with a breathless sensation that reminded me of a childhood asthma attack. Can coughing close up your airways? Should I see a doctor about this cough?


A sensation of shortness of breath and cough is a serious concern. I would strongly recommend that you see your primary care doctor. He or she could try to determine the cause and give you medicine if it were to recur. To answer your question--a cough does transiently close the airway. In order to gain the force to clear the airways, the airways close to build up the pressure, and then reopen. If one is in a coughing fit, then it maybe difficult to catch your breath. In general, people who have childhood asthma are more likely to have a recurrence of asthma. Asthma is a spasm of the airways--which results in the airways become smaller. Sometimes a viral infection can resurface the asthma, as can allergies. This can result in a sensation of coughing and shortness of breath. Talk to your doctor about this--if you do have asthma again having an inhaler at home to help "rescue" you during a coughing fit may be helpful. Another common cause of shortness of breath and sensation of asthma is a panic attack. Talk to your doctor about this. Other causes of shortness of breath include infections (such as pneumonia), bronchitis, heart disease or blood clots. If you develop fevers/chill or worsening symptoms--seek urgent medical attention. Talk to your doctor. Shortness of breath can be a concerning symptom that should be addressed.

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