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Scared that something is going on with my throat/lungs

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Old 04-21-2011, 01:08 AM   #1
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Scared that something is going on with my throat/lungs

In September, I had some new neighbors move in next door. Our apartment building is very small and doesn't have good ventilation. They initially smoked a lot, which bothered me, but they finally stopped. Then, they started lighting incense pretty much all the time, which to this day hasn't stopped. It would seep out their door and into the hallway and under my door, so I got a HEGA air filter and started opening my windows.

Anyway, for about a month now, I've been encountering some interesting symptoms. At first I thought it was mold, and then I thought it might be my neighbor's incense next door, but now I have no idea what's going on.

Long story short, when I wake up, it's the worst. I feel like someone is stepping on my chest and when I cough, I sound like I have bronchitis. I went to the store this morning and the guy was convinced I was a smoker, but I have never smoked in my life. Normally, after about 15 minutes of waking up, the cough gets better, and it's no longer so deep and dry. But throughout the day I cough... seems to get better when I leave my home (and it seems to get almost better when I'm outside, versus inside a building like work or home). But right now, I've been out of my house for 10 hours, and my throat feels tickly, dry, and I'm coughing a lot. When I cough, I can hear that "high pitched squeaking" like smokers sound.

My lungs do seem clear... if I take a deep and exhale, sometimes it makes me cough, but nothing seems congested. My nose is always clear (doesn't run, don't need tissues). I don't seem to have any post nasal drip or anything like that.

I'm a bit worried that this could be something more serious. But I've been to the doctors twice and they simply say my lungs are clear/must be a cold, etc. The last time I was there they suggested allergies, but I don't get allergies. But both times, all they did was listen to my breath in and out, and I don't think you can tell much from that?

I'm thinking it may have something to do with my home. I do have two cats in an enclosed space, and their litter box is in my bedroom, but it's covered. Perhaps that's irritating me while I sleep. I haven't had a chance to sleep elsewhere yet to see if it gets fixed.

Even though things seem better in the afternoons, the cough still sticks around. Yesterday I was at my computer at work and coughed and, no joke (gross I know), a bit of clear mucus landed on my computer screen about 3 feet away. Luckily, no one saw (and I tried to cover my mouth, for those who were going to ask, but didn't get there in time).

You know how your lungs and throat feel if the air is really cold and you're outside? That's how I feel all the time lately. If I take a deep breath in and try to hold my breath, I cough within a second. Also, as I breath in, my throat tickles and it makes me cough, even if I'm not trying to breath deep. I rarely cough when I'm not breathing in (exhaling, not breathing, etc. doesn't make me cough).

Any thoughts on this? I just had a friend die of lung cancer that came on suddenly (I'm 27, and he was 25). I doubt this is that, but I really am worried.

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Old 04-21-2011, 06:01 AM   #2
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Re: Scared that something is going on with my throat/lungs

"Wake up feeling like someone is stepping on my chest."

That is exactly how I feel when my asthma is flaring up. Primary care doctors sometimes have trouble recognizing the type of asthma that shows up as mainly coughing. Have they actually listened to your lungs during a cough? Can you get to a pulmonologist or allergist? Also, can you talk about this with your neighbors or move to a home that isn't making you sick?

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