ZocdocAnswersCan changes in weather cause one to cough?

Question

Can changes in weather cause one to cough?

Do changes in weather cause coughing? Ever since the weather turned really cold and dry, it seems like I'm prone to coughing fits. They're dry and unproductive, so it doesn't seem like I actually have a cold.

Answer

The most common cause of dry cough during winter months is simply irritation of the lining of the passages of the throat and lungs. As you comment, the cold air tends to dry out the passages and can lead to the cough. The treatment of this problem simply involves protecting yourself from the cold. Humidified air may also help. Another common cause of cough is a condition called cold-induced asthma. This is a very common and probably underdiagnosed condition where the constriction of the passages of the lungs is caused by the cold air. The cough in this case can be relieved by the same inhaled medications that are used for any type of asthma, such as albuterol, often taken just before stepping outside into the cold air. This possibility might be more likely if you have a prior history of asthma of any type. As always the diagnosis and the management of your particular condition will require a physical examination by your personal physician. Setting up an office visit with your primary care doctor might be advised.

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

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