Do Allergies Make You Cough? | Tennessee Ear, Nose, and Throat Doctor Answers

"Once the allergens are identified, your doctor can recommend targeted treatments or avoidance strategies to help manage your symptoms effectively."

Allergies can be a nuisance, causing a variety of symptoms that disrupt daily life. One of the most common questions we receive as the go-to ENT Consultants of East Tennessee is whether allergies can make you cough.

In this article, our team of highly experienced physicians and audiologists will answer this question and provide insights into the relationship between allergies and coughing, as well as offer guidance on managing allergy-related coughs.

Allergies and Coughing: Understanding the Connection

Allergies occur when your immune system reacts to a foreign substance, such as pollen, pet dander, or certain foods. This reaction can trigger various symptoms, including coughing.

When your body encounters an allergen, it releases histamines to combat the perceived threat. This response can cause inflammation in your airways, leading to coughing as your body tries to clear the irritants.

The Different Types of Allergy-Related Coughing

There are two primary types of allergy-related coughing: dry cough and productive cough.

Dry cough: A dry cough is often caused by postnasal drip, a common allergy symptom. When mucus from your nasal passages drips down the back of your throat, it can irritate your airways and cause a persistent, non-productive cough. A dry cough can be particularly bothersome at night, making it difficult to sleep.

Productive cough: A productive cough is characterized by the presence of mucus or phlegm. Allergies can cause your airways to produce excess mucus, leading to a productive cough as your body tries to clear the excess secretions. This type of cough may be accompanied by chest congestion and wheezing.


Common Allergens That Cause Coughing

Allergens that can trigger coughing include:


Pollen from trees, grass, and weeds can be inhaled and cause irritation in the respiratory system, leading to coughing.


Mold spores can be inhaled and cause an allergic reaction, triggering coughing and other respiratory symptoms.

Pet dander

Proteins found in pet skin, saliva, and urine can trigger an allergic reaction in some individuals, causing coughing and other symptoms.

Dust mites

These microscopic creatures live in household dust and can cause allergic reactions, including coughing, when their waste particles are inhaled.

Insect allergens

Insect allergens, such as cockroach particles, can trigger coughing and other respiratory symptoms.

Managing Allergy-Related Coughing

If you suspect that your cough is allergy related, it’s essential to consult with a specialist like the experienced team at the ENT Consultants of East Tennessee. Our team of professionals can diagnose your condition and recommend appropriate treatment options.

Some common treatments for allergy-related coughing include:


These medications help reduce the production of histamines and can alleviate allergy symptoms, including coughing.


Decongestants can help relieve nasal congestion and postnasal drip, reducing the severity of coughing.

Steroid nasal sprays

These prescription medications can reduce inflammation in your nasal passages and help control allergy symptoms.

Allergy shots

Also known as immunotherapy, allergy shots can help your body build a tolerance to specific allergens, reducing the severity of your symptoms over time.

Environmental control

Reducing exposure to allergens can help manage allergy-related coughing.

Humidifiers and air purifiers

Using a humidifier can help maintain optimal humidity levels in your home, preventing dryness that can exacerbate coughing. Air purifiers can help remove allergens such as pollen, pet dander, and mold spores from the air, reducing the likelihood of allergy-related coughing.

Over-the-counter cough suppressants

In some cases, cough suppressants can provide temporary relief from allergy-related coughing. However, it’s essential to consult with a specialist before using these medications, as they may not be appropriate for everyone.

Saline nasal rinses

Rinsing your nasal passages with a saline solution can help clear mucus and allergens, reducing postnasal drip and coughing.

Lifestyle modifications

In some cases, simple lifestyle changes can help reduce allergy-related coughing. For example, staying indoors during peak pollen times, keeping windows closed, and showering after spending time outdoors can help minimize your exposure to allergens.

Professional allergy testing

A thorough evaluation by an experienced ear, nose, and throat specialist can identify specific allergens causing your symptoms. Once the allergens are identified, your doctor can recommend targeted treatments or avoidance strategies to help manage your symptoms effectively.

Ear, Nose & Throat Consultants of East Tennessee

To summarize, allergies can indeed cause coughing, either a dry cough due to postnasal drip or a productive cough from excess mucus production.

If you or a loved one is experiencing persistent coughing or other allergy symptoms, the first step is to schedule an appointment with the Ear, Nose & Throat Consultants of East Tennessee.

Our team has offices in Park West, Fort Sanders, and Lenoir City, and we are dedicated to providing comprehensive care for all your ear, nose, throat, neck, and allergy needs.

With our expertise, we can help you better manage your allergy-related coughing and improve your overall quality of life, so get in touch today.

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Nicholas J. Panella, M.D.

Growing up in Knoxville, Nicholas went to Webb High School. While no day is the same, as he is constantly managing different projects as a general ENT, his practice specializes in head and neck cancer. The job can be difficult; however, he loves to work alongside a wonderful group of doctors and providers who all want to work together to help ensure patients have the best possible outcome. Everyone is so supportive of each other and loves to bring new techniques and surgical options to the East TN area. Outside of work, he dedicates his time to his wife and two young kids. They enjoy spending time on the lake, fishing, mountain biking, and snowboarding. He is also involved with his local church and the Emerald Youth Foundation

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