Respiratory Therapist/URI


Hello Ma'am,

Thank you very much for volunteering for this site. I am a 31 y/o male, Family History of High Cholestoral(Dad) and Bladder Cancer(Brother). No Smoking, Occasional Drinker.

The issue I am having is the past 2 weeks, I have been dealing with this upper respiratory issue. I have been coughing up green/Yellow phlegm, Post nasal Drip, runny nose and cough (No Fever). I went to the Doctors to where they performed a CBC and Chest X-Ray. Chest X-ray was negative and CBC showed slight increase in BASOPHILS 2.7(0-2 is normal). I was prescribed Mucinex D, Claritin, Motrin and Saline spray. He said that it did not warrent Antibiotics at this time. That was the first week. This week, The green and yellow went away for the most part, my nose cleared up, but now I am dealing with a Dry Cough and a Hoarse Voice(I assume this is from coughing alot). With this being said, how long will this dry cough last? I feel that it in my throat, not in my chest as I dont feel any type of rattling or respiratory discomfort. Is this because my vocal cords may be swollen, which is given me a sensation to cough? Its like a tickle in the back of my throat that I can not get out, but the coughing is non stop at night. Last question is, what would you recommend me take for this issue? Thank you very much for your valuable time.

Hi Scott,

I apologize for the delay in response; I did not see your question until today.

When infection or irritation is present in the  airways certain mucus producing cells may become more active in order to produce more mucus to protect the airway and aid in removal of the irritants when you cough or blow your nose.  Of course, too much mucus production can signal a problem, especially if it is yellow and green. Also, your sinuses normally warm, humidify, and filter the air you breathe but if they are not able to do this effectively for some reason, the air entering your trachea and lower airways will be drier, cooler and more irritating.

From the description of the yellow and green mucus and post nasal drip it sounds like you
have / had some type of infection, if not bacterial perhaps viral. Your throat probably became quite irritated as a result of the post nasal drip but Claritin may also cause dry mouth, hoarseness and sore throat and this may be part of your problem as well. Since your sinuses may not be working optimally (not warming and humidifying the air normally), as a result of the infection, this could be aggravating an already irritated throat which makes you cough. The more you cough the more irritated your throat and airways get and the more you want to cough.

I worked with a number of patients earlier this year that had symptoms very much like yours. They had that incessant dry cough and complained they coughed so much their abdominal muscles were sore. They all felt like they had something to cough out but only had dry coughing.  It was thought to be a viral process and it lasted for a few weeks. Cough suppressants were needed to help reduce the episodes of coughing. It may be that when there is no  mucus production the removal of the virus (or other source) does not occur as readily and so effects may be prolonged.

Also, because some of your symptoms could be side effects of the Claritin, or worsened by it,  you might want to stop taking it for now or take it less often if you think you still need it, and see if your hoarseness, sore throat, and dry cough subside. The same goes for the Mucinex since you have no mucus to expectorate.

Since the tickle and cough may  be in part due to the dryness and resultant irritation, which impedes healing, drink plenty of water  and warm fluids, like mint tea with honey or type of mild tea or broth/soup to help keep your airways moist and stay well hydrated. It might also help to gargle with mild salt water a couple of times a day or at least before sleep.  Keep some water by your bed at night to drink periodically and it might help to take a cough suppressant before you go to sleep also. Oddly enough, dark chocolate is supposed to be a good cough suppressant but I have not tried it myself for this purpose.  You may also consider using a humidifier at night to see if adding a little moisture to the air you breathe will stop or reduce the irritation and dry coughing.  And no matter what anyone says, I still take lots of vitamin C when I have these types of symptoms because I have personally found it to be very beneficial.

One last thing, an ENT suggested that scratching your ear can stop the throat tickle because it produces an interfering nerve spasm (which seems to suggest the tickle is due to nerve stimulation/irritation). I guess it cannot hurt to try.

Be sure to check with your doctor again if your symptoms worsen or persist too long.

I hope you are back to normal soon.

Respiratory Therapist

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Stephanie Tyrrell


Respiratory Therapy is a very diverse field encompassing many specialty areas. I have experience in many of these areas and I am willing to answer any question I feel competent to answer within the scope of my experience in the following areas: neonatal ICU and transport, pulmonary rehabilitation, sleep studies, BiPAP/CPAP therapy, Holter monitoring, EKG, ventilator management, chronic and acute respiratory diseases,(i.e. COPD, asthma, restrictive disease, ARDS (acute respiratory distress syndrome), pneumonia, etc) and therapeutics, arterial blood gases, and others. Please see my profile under Experience for a full listing of areas of experience.


I have worked in respiratory therapy for over 25 years in all facets of patient care including level 4 neonatal ICU and neonatal transport, Director of Cardiopulmonary, community health fairs and networking, staff therapist, pulmonary rehabilitation, sleep studies and BiPAP/CPAP therapy, Holter monitoring, EKG, cardiac clinics, pre and post cardiac surgery education and patient care, emergency and long-term ventilator management, chronic diseases such as COPD, asthma, cystic fibrosis; acute respiratory distress syndrome, emergency room, home and nursing home respiratory care. I also provided temporary staff to area hospitals through an allied health business I owned and managed, while also working as a staff therapist for the business.

Certified Respiratory Therapist, Registered Respiratory Therapist, Licensed RT, NRP ((Neonatal Resuscitation Program) certified, BS Biology/Botany, MS Environmental Sciences - Toxicology

Past/Present Clients
Thousands of in-patient and out-patient clients in the hospitals I was/am employed by as well as a number of local hospitals that utilized the services of my allied health business. I currently work as a respiratory therapist at a general hospital and a rehabilitation hospital.

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