Post-COVID Cough

Apr 16, 2021 | Kate Walsh PA-C, MPAS, MPH | @katewalshpa | Comments (13)

Many patients are noticing persistent symptoms after being considered “recovered” from COVID 19 illness. They may have been released from self-isolation and are no longer considered acutely ill, but continue to struggle with bothersome symptoms. Cough is the second most common persistent symptom after COVID-19 infection following fatigue.

When someone experiences a cough for more than 3 weeks out from illness there are a few things to think about. Are you having persistent postnasal drip? Is the cough productive and coming from your chest or is it more of a throat clearing cough? If related to persistent postnasal drip, there are several over the counter nasal sprays that contain inhaled steroids that may be effective in decreasing the inflammatory response. Are there any other associated persistent symptoms? If you are experiencing cough, especially with shortness of breath, we do encourage you to see a medical professional to be evaluated. There are many complications that can arise from COVID-19 including blood clots, secondary pneumonias, and fibrosis. Chest imaging and other tests can help medical professionals identify problems that would require specific treatment.

Many viral illnesses can lead to what is called a post-viral cough syndrome. Post-viral cough is the term used when a cough continues more than 3 weeks past viral illness. A persistent cough can be part of an inflammatory response, increased sensitivity, and/or possible conditions such as underlying reactive airways. As many as 25 out of every 100 people can experience a persistent cough following viral illness. If cough persists past 8 weeks it is considered more chronic and other underlying conditions many need to be evaluated such as gastroesophageal reflux, chronic sinus disease, or asthma.

People may be concerned about or fear their own and others cough symptoms because cough is a very common presenting symptom (occurring in more than 50%) of COVID patients.  The stigma associated with coughing has been magnified during the COVID-19 pandemic. Many are already feeling isolated, and persistent symptoms may lead them to isolate even more. This isolation can often affect overall well-being.  Seeking help from a medical professional can help you better understand either the origins of the cough or provide options to help manage the symptom. Both can lead to an improved quality of life.

In regard, to COVID-19, we need to better understand the cough pathway to optimize treatment options. Research is ever evolving and your health care professional may have new suggestions or treatment options for you and others struggling with post COVID symptoms.

Connect with others going through post-COVID recovery in the COVID-19 discussion group.

Interested in more newsfeed posts like this? Go to the Post-COVID Recovery blog.

I’m going on 4 weeks since symptoms appeared and the cough is still so bad. I hear the rattling in my chest and it’s impossible to sleep. I’m so tired and frustrated!

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@belinda0429

I’m going on 4 weeks since symptoms appeared and the cough is still so bad. I hear the rattling in my chest and it’s impossible to sleep. I’m so tired and frustrated!

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Good morning and welcome to Mayo Connect. There are many people in the Post-COVID Recovery Group helping one another through this tough time. You can find them here: https://connect.mayoclinic.org/group/post-covid-recovery-covid-19/
Sue

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@belinda0429

I’m going on 4 weeks since symptoms appeared and the cough is still so bad. I hear the rattling in my chest and it’s impossible to sleep. I’m so tired and frustrated!

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Hi Belinda, I can imagine you’re tired and frustrated. We all know that sleep is needed for healing. If your cough is keeping you from sleeping, then it becomes a vicious cycle. As outlined in the blog above, having a persistent cough for more than 3 weeks should get medical attention.

It sounds like you have post-viral cough syndrome. Have you sought the help of a specialist? Do you also have persistent postnasal drip and/or shortness of breath?

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I am going on 10 weeks following my breakthrough case of Covid 19, it has gotten better but it is still bad enough that i consulted a pulmonologist and they have set me up for a CT scan and a subsequent breathing test ,in the mean time i have been instructed to use albuterol inhaler and they prescribed a Ellipta inhaler but it cost me $250 dollars so i am doing without.

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@danduhman

I am going on 10 weeks following my breakthrough case of Covid 19, it has gotten better but it is still bad enough that i consulted a pulmonologist and they have set me up for a CT scan and a subsequent breathing test ,in the mean time i have been instructed to use albuterol inhaler and they prescribed a Ellipta inhaler but it cost me $250 dollars so i am doing without.

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@danduhman– Hello. I understand about the expense with Trelegy Ellipta. Have you looked into Canada on line health?
https://canadaonlinehealth.com/login/
Their prices are a lot better than out-of-pocket in the US. Trelegy Ellipta has 3 different medications and if you can swing it will be well worth it!

Let me know!

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@danduhman

I am going on 10 weeks following my breakthrough case of Covid 19, it has gotten better but it is still bad enough that i consulted a pulmonologist and they have set me up for a CT scan and a subsequent breathing test ,in the mean time i have been instructed to use albuterol inhaler and they prescribed a Ellipta inhaler but it cost me $250 dollars so i am doing without.

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Balancing finances and physical need can be difficult and frustrating. In consultation with a pulmonologist, I switched from Albuterol to FLOVENT HFA. Note that Flovent HFA is NOT a rescue inhaler like Albuterol. It is a localized steroid. It might be worth asking your doctor and insurance company. Best wishes!

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@belinda0429

I’m going on 4 weeks since symptoms appeared and the cough is still so bad. I hear the rattling in my chest and it’s impossible to sleep. I’m so tired and frustrated!

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Disturbed sleep can become a vicious cycle that is incredibly frustrating. In consultation with a pulmonologist, a Flovent HFA inhaler helped me along with deep, diaphragmatic breathing, pacing (as opposed to graded exercise therapy), and ensuring a rest/recovery period after physical activity. Please note that Flovent is NOT a rescue inhaler like Albuterol. It is a localized steroid. It might be worth asking your doctor if it's appropriate for your situation. Best wishes! Keep moving forward one step at a time!

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I had Covid or maybe a bad cold, starting on January 1st, with a very sore throat. Other symptoms that were pretty much exactly what the symptoms are for Omicron followed. I tested negative with home testing and went for a PCR nasal test on the following Tuesday but that too was negative. I had all of the symptoms for about 5-7 days. Now I am still coughing, I had to postpone an MRI that was scheduled for today (yes, on a Sunday) but there is no way I could be still for an MRI.

Initially my cough did not seem productive but it has become so. It doesn't seem to be getting any better. If it continues I may contact my PCP but I'm not sure that there is much they can do for just a cough. I did buy some cough medicine and it may help a little bit.

I have not lost my sense of taste, but by evening I am not really looking forward to dinner and am eating less than typical for me. I have no idea if that's connected too or not.
JK

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@contentandwell

I had Covid or maybe a bad cold, starting on January 1st, with a very sore throat. Other symptoms that were pretty much exactly what the symptoms are for Omicron followed. I tested negative with home testing and went for a PCR nasal test on the following Tuesday but that too was negative. I had all of the symptoms for about 5-7 days. Now I am still coughing, I had to postpone an MRI that was scheduled for today (yes, on a Sunday) but there is no way I could be still for an MRI.

Initially my cough did not seem productive but it has become so. It doesn't seem to be getting any better. If it continues I may contact my PCP but I'm not sure that there is much they can do for just a cough. I did buy some cough medicine and it may help a little bit.

I have not lost my sense of taste, but by evening I am not really looking forward to dinner and am eating less than typical for me. I have no idea if that's connected too or not.
JK

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Do you have a fever? Are you checking ur pulse oxygen? That was the biggest change with my daughter. Mucinex seemed to help her cough at times, esp when it’s productive. It thins the secretions making it easier to bring up. But you need to drink plenty of fluids when taking that.

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@susie333

Do you have a fever? Are you checking ur pulse oxygen? That was the biggest change with my daughter. Mucinex seemed to help her cough at times, esp when it’s productive. It thins the secretions making it easier to bring up. But you need to drink plenty of fluids when taking that.

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@susie333 I have not had a fever at all.

I drink a lot of fluid, it's required due to a medication I need to take causing my creatinine to be higher than the range when I don't.
JK

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@sueinmn

Good morning and welcome to Mayo Connect. There are many people in the Post-COVID Recovery Group helping one another through this tough time. You can find them here: https://connect.mayoclinic.org/group/post-covid-recovery-covid-19/
Sue

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Had Omicron in January 2022-seemed like a fast 10-day recovery but after a month or two my asthma is much worse than lately: it has improved greatly after losing 28 Lb pre-Covid but only down 18 Lb now: installed lots of moldy mulch this spring in my Biz – I’ve gotten more albuterol and it helps a lot but feel prolly should bite bullet & go to self -pay doctor appt not just borrow puffers from a veteran friend

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@ednorrowe

Had Omicron in January 2022-seemed like a fast 10-day recovery but after a month or two my asthma is much worse than lately: it has improved greatly after losing 28 Lb pre-Covid but only down 18 Lb now: installed lots of moldy mulch this spring in my Biz – I’ve gotten more albuterol and it helps a lot but feel prolly should bite bullet & go to self -pay doctor appt not just borrow puffers from a veteran friend

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Ed, using puffers or medications prescribed to someone else is not recommended. I hope you have made an appointment to see a doctor in the meantime.

How are you doing?

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