Dry Cough: A Confusing Symptom

While an occasional cough is normal, a persistent cough could indicate a more serious underlying problem. Unfortunately, a dry, recurring cough could be linked to several different serious conditions including mesothelioma. Ultimately, a correct diagnosis might require significant medical detective work to determine the correct underlying disease that is causing the cough.


What can cause a dry cough?

There are various underlying causes for a recurring cough, including:

  • In the early stages of pleural mesothelioma, the lining of the lungs thickens and presses inward. This unnatural pressure can lead to shortness of breath and chest pain in addition to a dry, persistent cough.
  • As tumors develop, they can damage the nerves connecting the lining of the lungs.
  • A buildup of fluid around the lung – known as pleural effusion – can cause coughing.
  • Individuals struggling with pleural mesothelioma commonly develop pneumonia – of which, a dry cough is a common symptom.
  • Mesothelioma treatments such as radiation therapy can increase and worsen a dry cough.

Individuals find a dry, unproductive cough annoying but it might be related to something much more serious than a “tickle in your throat.” It is wise to discuss any unusual symptoms with a trusted medical professional.

How can a dry cough be treated?

Those suffering from mesothelioma have numerous options at their disposal, including:

  • Surgery: Removing tumors can ease these symptoms.
  • Palliative procedures: Draining the fluid buildup around tumors can relieve pressure and ease symptoms.
  • Cough remedies: In some situations, simple remedies such as steam inhalation, cough drops or hot water with lemon can lessen symptoms.
  • Avoid triggers: If you notice environmental triggers – aerosol spray, strong perfume or cologne, smoke-filled air – it is best to avoid them.
  • Cough medications: Certain cough suppressants or expectorants can control a recurring cough.

A persistent cough can be indicative of many issues and it can also exacerbate existing conditions – or create new ones. People have complained about throat irritations, chronic headaches or even pulled muscles related to the stress and strain of constant coughing. Individuals have trouble sleeping due to the recurring cough. Emotionally, some people simply avoid going out in public – shopping or to a movie theater – for fear of the embarrassment associated with a constant cough.

If you fear you have been exposed to asbestos, it is crucial that you discuss your situation with a medical professional. An attorney with extensive experience in mesothelioma cases can provide the legal guidance you need.