Allergies and coughs

woman coughing

Can my allergies be causing my cough?

Yes. If you have an irritating cough, it can often be a sign of cold, however it is also a symptom of allergies. Colds and allergies have very similar symptoms for example: sneezing, coughing and having a runny nose. Allergies and colds are different conditions with specific causes.

How can you tell whether your cough is related to a cold or an allergy?


  • Allergies are not contagious or infectious
  • Can include frequent or long-lasting symptoms in people with severe or multiple allergies
  • Often cause itchy eyes
  • Allergic coughs may be seasonal. For example a cough present during the pollen season may subside after the season is over.
  • Do not cause a fever, body aching or gland swelling
  • Cause less coughing than colds
  • Are triggered by abnormal sensitivity of your immune system to normally harmless substances (allergens), such as dust, pollen, and animal dander


  • Cause coughing more frequently than allergies
  • Are contagious and infectious
  • Generally occur in the winter
  • Symptoms can persist for more than a week
  • Rarely causes itching of the eyes
  • Occur with a fever, a sore throat and occasionally swollen glands or body aches

Chronic Coughing

A chronic cough is defined as a cough lasting eight weeks or longer in adults or four weeks in children. It is often triggered by postnasal drip, asthma and acid reflux which can irritate your throat. Chronic coughing is more than annoyance, it can leave you feeling exhausted! Good news, a chronic cough typically disappears once the underlying problem is treated.

There are many causes for a chronic cough and a careful assessment by your doctors is necessary. Sometimes your general practitioner may refer you to either a respiratory physician, an ear, nose and throat specialist, or both. A number of investigations may be necessary to rule of out various causes. This may include testing for allergies.

Chronic coughing and allergy testing

An allergy test can be conducted for chronic coughing. Allergy skin prick testing is the ideal way to identify things to which you may be allergic. When you are allergic to something we call it an “allergen”. Inhaled allergens can also cause allergic rhinitis, eczema, nose and sinus problems, snoring and ear problems.

At the Northern Beaches Allergy Clinic we happy to perform allergy testing on patients who may have allergies contributing to their chronic cough. For an appointment, please contact us on 02 9982 3439.