dry cough, tightness?


New member
Hi everyone,

I've been dealing with some new, unwanted problems lately and I'm trying to figure them out :) But as some background...I've recently been unable to tolerate ANY inhaled medications (other than Pulmozyme). Over the years I have had some problems with inhaled medications causing tightness, but I was able to push through and take them. However, now it's gotten to the point where I feel much worse taking them. I have tried to take inhaled steroids (i.e. Advair), but those also make me feel terrible, so everything inhaled is out of the question. I've recently started taking Singulair, which I think has helped.

Anyhow, last weekend I went camping. The whole camping trip I had a terribly dry cough (nothing productive at all) and some tightness. It kept getting worse and worse over the weekend, and even the day after I got home I felt so bad that I finally put in a call to my doctor. Of course after I call, my cough then turned productive and I'm feeling more exacerbation-ish now. I'm getting a CT scan, PFTs, and check-up today.

My question is...do you ever get a tight, dry, non-productive cough with exacerbations? It almost felt like the mucus was "stuck" and I couldn't get anything out. Maybe inflammation? My doctor and I are trying to figure out if this is some sort of asthmatic/allergic response, or if it's maybe infection-related. So I'm just trying to figure out if anyone else has experienced a dry, tight cough before.



Staff member
Have you had cultures done recently? When ds was younger he developed a dry throat clearing cough, which we thought was just a habit, possibly post nasal drip. When he had exacerbations in the past they were usually productive (bronchial type) coughs and at the time he culture either enterbactor chochlae (sp), H. Flu or pseudomonas a. So with this dry cough we assumed it was again, just a habit, but then he'd had routine cultures and was culturing steno. maltophilia. Although the doctor indicate steno malt usually wasn't treated, ds was put on septra and the cough cleared up. I'm just guessing here, but an online friend had a similar issue with his child.

I'm assuming you do a bronchodilator such as albuterol or atrovent before or during cpt/vest. I thought I'd read once upon a time they would help open up the airways and help with potential bronchiospasms with tobi, HTS... I'm just guessing here. You've been doing this for quite a while, and know your body best. Hopefully you can resolve/figure it out soon.


New member
I am 51, diagnosed with PCD and a lung function of around 40%. A few thoughts that may help as I also have a hard time using inhalation medicine. Been through the allegra, singular cycle. I do think allergies are a component and I currently take vitamin D, probiotic, and avoid dairy, along with homeopathic drops.When I have an increase in inflammation with a less productive cough it usually proceeds getting my menstrual cycle. After a couple of days with SOB, I can usually resolve the issue. I take ibuprofen, put tee tree muscle rub (jason's) on my lower chest, and use essential oil on my feet (previous posts on this). I also have been taking a low dose micronized progesterone dose for a few years. Recommend checking out "The Hormone Cure" from your library to learn more about the impact of chronic stress (from illness) on hormones.
Over the years Advair never seemed to help. but after IVs in late 2015, I can feel a drag when I miss a dose. I had great luck with Cayston for many years until I became resistant. So you may want to look into eflow medicines. I am going to try Bethkis which I am hoping to tolerate with the help of Atrovent (can not tolerate albuterol) and Pulmicort. What your describing sounds like inflammation which will become an exacerbation if bacteria/mucus is trapped in your lungs.

Hope the check up goes well!


New member
Hi RubyRoseLee - I recently had to start taking blood pressure medicine, and the first two medicines they tried on me both gave me a dry cough. Just thought I'd mention it in case you have had a similar change to your meds. - Dan


New member
Have you been tested for asthma? I developed it in my early 30's. Have a hyper-reactive airway. Like you, cant tolerate much inhaled meds, although advair and (surprisingly!) Cayston for short periods of time (12 days on, 12 days off). But cant even nebbie albuteral without reacting. The best thing that I've found that worked was biofeedback. When I used to get that horrid hacking dry cough that rips you apart without helping ANYTHING since it's non-productive, I trained myself to have my body dump water into my sinuses and lungs. I know, it sounds kinda crazy, but it does work. It took about a year to learn. My nose runs like a faucet and I can feel my lungs getting wetter and wetter, until finally the cough is productive and then it stops. It takes about 5-7 minutes from the onset of the dry hack to getting my lungs wet enough that the dry hack it gone. (the other thing that works is chewing up a hydrocodone, but I havent had to do that in years since the biofeedback- and that takes about 15 minutes if you chew it, 45-60 minutes if you take the pill whole) I broke so many ribs from that dry hack, I frankly lost count. But not anymore. The asthma is a really annoying complication of CF. For me, it can hit at any time from a host of stimuli ranging from a temperature change in the air, difference in humidity, exertion, airborne contaminant, etc.


Super Moderator
How are you feeling? Sometimes even with an inhaled steroid my daughter gets tight and inflamed. We sometimes have to use a steroid burst and or even a burst with a taper to knock down the inflammation.. Hope you are doing better.


New member
Thanks everyone for your replies! After seeing my doctor last week, getting a CT scan, extensive PFT's, etc...we have determined it's asthma. I'm unable to tolerate almost all inhaled medications (even albuterol, like you mom2two). Super annoying! I mean, how are you supposed to feel better if you can't even take the medications to feel better! So it looks like short bursts of prednisone will be my friend when needed. Thank you all :)