How to control cough variant asthma?

If you are suffering from cough variant asthma, chances are that the uncontrollable bouts of coughing have become a part and parcel of your daily routine. If someone tells you they know a permanent solution for it, then do yourself a favor and run away as far as possible because there is no such thing. However, there are ways to control it so that you can lead a normal life without having to feel like your lungs will explode every minute.

First things first – What is Cough Variant Asthma?

Cough variant asthma (CVA) is just like any other type of asthma but with one significant difference – excessive coughing in response to allergens or irritants instead of wheezing or shortness of breath. The symptoms might start slowly and worsen over time right before an attack takes place – which often results in chest tightness, difficulty breathing or even light-headedness.

It’s important to note that some people may only experience occasional, mild symptoms while others may suffer from severe attacks on a regular basis. Therefore, having knowledge about how to control these episodes can make all the difference between enjoying everyday activities and days spent struggling #throughoutyourlife.

Recognizing Symptoms

People with cough variant asthma usually complain about their frequent bouts hacking them up badly throughout the day; sometimes causing problems during sleep too making them wake-up frequently at night due to irritation/ itching in throat followed by sudden chocking sensation/painful dry coughs if this sounds familiar, chances are high that CVA has hijacked your respiratory system!

Other subtle signs could be:

  • Feeling suffocated
  • Sudden tiredness
  • Constant fatigue after performing simple tasks
  • Lack Of Sleep
  • Chest pressure

Although roughly 25% of asthmatics suffer primarily from CVA, around 90%% report accompanying conditions including rhinitis (inflammation of the nasal passage) or reflux.


It can be tough to diagnose CVA as there are no specific tests available yet. The best way is finding patterns and symptoms that appear mostly when you’re exposed to allergens or irritants – pollens, dust mites, smoke etc.

Sometimes a physical examination is not enough – but pulmonary function testing (PFT), blood tests or even chest X-rays may help identify issues within your respiratory system.

Without proper diagnosis, it’s impossible for treatment to work efficiently so you must consult an allergist/immunologist with asthma spectrum expertise whenever in doubt!

What Triggers CVA?

Cough variant asthma attacks happen when airways become too sensitive and overreact towards environmental triggers such as:

  1. Allergies- Pollen, ragweed
  2. Smoke from cigarettes/candles/lamps
  3. Pet dander
  4. Excessive cold/hot temperatures
  5. Dry/Humid climates

Apart from these outdoor factors, indoor irritants are like mold spores, certain foods/drinks and workplace chemicals including perfumes/fumes/dust might cause severe episodes leading up to chronic tiredness which can affect personal life cycles dramatically until proper treatment is initiated.

A Few Home Remedies(Non-prescriptive)

if you’re looking for DIY solutions but want quick natural remedies minus potential side-effects during medication initiation here’s what one could try:


Inhalations using essential oils like eucalyptus oil/decoctions of carom seeds have been used since ancient times – proven effective against coughs by reducing inflammation and allowing clear breathing airway passages while also providing mental relaxation soothing properties as well! Simply add around 10 drops of eucalyptus oil in boiling hot water vessel; cover yourself with a towel/head scarf above the steam ~breathe deeply~ repeat this twice a day until desired relief is obtained.


Honey can soothe inflamed airways and help reduce coughing as well! Try 2 teaspoons of honey mixed in warm water, mixed with ginger or cinnamon powder for added flavor & anti-inflammatory benefits then consume this mixture twice-daily every day!

Green Tea/Coffee

Both beverages have shown evidence to decrease inflammation helping sooth excessive coughs during lung attacks. However it should be noted that caffeine could interfere with the action of important inhaler relievers leading up to substitute breathing patterns – therefore moderation is key if consumed frequently.

Treatment Options

Apart from regular home remedies, there are various FDA approved drugs like all anti-inflammatory agents given via inhalers/oral medications that provide quick relief:

1) Beta-Agonists

These work by quickly relaxing the smooth muscles within your respiratory system allowing improved airflow. Within minutes you’ll feel sensation opening improvements lasting apx 4hrs before needing another dosage depending on severity rates experienced by each individual (be sure not to exceed prescribed dosage!)

Examples include ProAir (Albuterol), Xopenex (Levalbuteral).

2) Anticholinergics

Tackling bronchospasms, anticholinergic sprays also improve short-term symptoms but concerning mildness hence providing fast acting results.

Examples: Atrovent HFA(Inhalation aerosol), Combivent Respimat(inhalant)

B- Long-Term Solutions

These medications require some time before showing results but grants long term prophylactic protection against asthma episodes before they even begin but might trigger varied side effects depending on medication sensitivity developed over time periods:

1) Inhaled Corticosteroids

Inhaled steroids curtail inflammation contributing towards reduced airway edema starting from doses only currently used daily snuffing out chronic inflammation issues setting off breathing problems.

Examples: Flovent HFA (fluticasone), Pulmicort Flexhaler(budesonide).

2) Leukotriene Modifiers

These target the immune system to stop responses setting towards environmental triggers causing allergic respiratory reactions, preventing further recurrence!

Examples: Singulair(montelukast).

The Bottom Line

Living with cough variant asthma can be tricky and frustrating, but do know that with proper diagnosis and management it can be controlled to a great extent where living a comfortable lifestyle becomes realistic. Home remedies like inhalations, green tea/coffee along with prescription medications fortunately provide flexibility in treatment approaches allowing for desired relief ultimately creating an ambience of carefree-living!

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