Hi..I just read this post on cough variant asthma. I, too, have had this since about 1986. For a year or so, I didn't know why I was coughing like I was or why I was feeling short of breath. Then I heard a patient in Med/Surg who sounded just like me--and I went to the doc and was diagnosed. I also am a nurse and for about 14 years I had no idea what my trigger was. I thought it was everything!! I was on almost all of the same meds you are on--nothing controlled the asthma. Changes in meds...nothing helped. Until I became a nurse, I was only allergic to penicillin. About 6 months into my brand new nursing career, my hands started burning, itching, cracking and bleeding---all withing minutes of putting on latex gloves (I am a labor and delivery nurse so those things were inavoidable). I learned I was allergic to latex--at least
topically. I lived with this for the next 13 years. The hospitals went from powdered latex gloves to low protein latex, no powder gloves---that bought me the additional years until the very last year I worked and I again started reacting to the gloves----so I was given Nitrile unsterile gloves to wear against my skin (but I still had to wear sterile latex gloves over them many times a day). Meanwhile, there were periods where I was almost asthma-free during my nursing career. I stopped to think....I was in between jobs during those times! I did some research and found out that latex allergy can also take the form of respiratory problems like asthma---I knew that anaphylaxis was a definite possibility, but I never, for the life of me, connected my asthma to the latex allergy--until 3.5 mos. before I quit my job. At that time,
I was coughing so much that some night I never slept before I went to work. I was so worn out from coughing that I could hardly move. I knew, given how slow hospitals and clinics were/are to change from using their precious latex gloves, that my career was over. It tore me apart. I still cry a little when I think of the babies I have delivered over the years......but, you know what, I am asthma free now! It took me a long time to feel like I was totally free of it, but I noticed a complete difference in my breathing within 2 weeks of leaving my job. Before I left, a GOOD day was when my peak flow meter read 300. Now I can do 500 with no problem! A total difference. I have had a couple of very minor episodes (like an hour) but that always occurs in the presence of latex gloves at the lab where I get my blood drawn. The techs use vinyl gloves and a nitrile tourniquet but there are open boxes of latex gloves in the rooms. No matter how much you try to teach people about this allergy, some just don't get it! Anyway, the moral of this story is that if you, in your career,
have a lot of exposure to natural rubber latex, you might want to consider this as a possible cause for your asthma. Just a thought.........