Copyright 2017. All Rights Reserved

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Coughing at night

(shutterstock image)

Coughing is one of those things that makes me sit up and listen. When my kids were little, they were sick - ALOT! They ended up in the hospital many times for asthma and pneumonia. So, every time one of my kids starts coughing, it makes me worried.

Son #1 was just coughing before he went to bed. I asked if he had been playing Ultimate Frisbee with his buddies, but he said no. He has exercise induced asthma, so Frisbee games, running, hiking, etc will set off his asthma. Usually I have to remind him to use his inhaler if he's coughing.

He said he noticed his asthma was flaring up the last few nights (he wast telling me this as he was coughing......). I said, "Well - use your inhaler - that's what it's for!" Son #1 said,  "Oh....yeah." Sigh.

I heard him coughing before he went to bed, and then during the night. The pollen count is really high right now, and he has allergies. But he always showers before he goes to bed at night. So, that helps the allergies and should also be helping his asthma. 

Then he told me that he ran out of his daily controller medicine. Ah ha! No wonder he's coughing! I said, "Well, now you know that the medicine really helps and you should probably get it refilled!" 

  Did you know you can take a 5 question quiz and find out if your asthma is in control? has an Asthma Control Test you can take. 

One of the questions is:

During the past 4 weeks, how often did your asthma symptoms (wheezing, coughing, shortness of breath, chest tightness or pain) wake you up at night or earlier than usual in the morning? has a chart that shows how severe your asthma is. They list their chart as coming from: National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute. Accessed: May 20, 2010. Expert Panel Report 3 (EPR3): Guidelines for the Diagnosis and Management of Asthma 

(Trust me - the chart from the Verywell website is a LOT easier to understand!)

It's hard to read, but if you look on the 2nd box, "Nighttime Awakenings", you can see how bad your asthma is. 

If you are waking up less than 2 times per month, you have "intermittent asthma."
If you wake up 3-4 times per month, you have "mild persistent asthma". 
If you wake up more than once a week (but not nightly) you have "moderate persistent asthma." 
If you wake up every night, you have "severe persistent asthma."

Coughing at night is just one of many ways doctors can check to see if your asthma is in control. This is hard to explain in a blog post, so it is best to talk to your doctor. He can see if you need to start on an asthma medicine, or change one that you are on now.

I talk to a lot of people who think it's normal for their asthma to wake them up at night. It's not (unless you are sick with a cold). 

So if you are one of those people with asthma that coughs during the night (and your spouse, brothers, sisters, roommates or whoever tells you that you cough at night - listen to them!) Some people don't even realize they are coughing during the night. 

If you are, it could be a sign that your asthma needs a little attention. 

Call you doc, and you and your family may all sleep a little better.


  1. Good Afternoon! I thought that you might be interested in writing about our product that can stop asthma symptoms in kids up to 2 weeks before they begin.

    San Francisco, June 23, 2016 -- A new device that lets children with asthma monitor their own health by playing an iPhone game is closer to reality, thanks to a prestigious $225,000 award from the National Science Foundation to KNOX Medical.

    The San Francisco-based startup has developed Aeris, a hospital-grade portable device that wirelessly connects to an iPhone game where the child flies a hot air balloon using their breath. The child blasts the balloon up into the sky to a different city each day and must sufficiently blow out enough air to reach this new destination.

    “Our device has been shown to ensure a proper lung test with a technology that can alert parents about lung issues up to two weeks before usual symptoms appear,” says Charvi of KNOX. “Early detection notifies the parent to take action and start the treatment process, significantly reducing recovery time.”

    Aeris is undergoing a validation study with over 50 kids at UCSF Benioff Children's Hospital, at-home trials with families and has received great enthusiasm from children, parents and doctors.

    “We are honored and excited to win this award,” says Inderjit Jutla of KNOX, “Now we have our sights set on getting to market as soon as possible and will soon be seeking FDA clearance in hopes of bringing our potentially life-saving device to homes in early 2017.”

    The CDC's most recent survey in 2012 found that more than 10 million U.S. children were diagnosed with asthma. Many of these children visit the ER at least once a year and some visit dozens of times.

    “We are working to drastically reduce the number of costly ER visits and hospitalizations with this affordable and fun device,” says Huyson Lam of KNOX.

    Supporters: KNOX Medical is the first startup to ever receive UCSF's Catalyst Award from the Clinical and Translational Science Institute (CTSI) and also won a UC Berkeley CITRIS Award. KNOX is funded by SOSVentures' accelerator program, IndieBio.

    KNOX Medical will be happy to demo the Aeris device and are available for 1-on-1 interviews.

    Do let me know if this would be something of interest!

    30 second handout video:
    50 second b-roll:
    UC Berkeley School of Journalism Coverage:

    The Knox Team
    Phone: 415-320-0690
    Office: 479 Jessie Street, San Francisco, CA
    Twitter: @knoxmed
    Facebook: @knoxmed
    Medium: @knox-med
    Instagram: @knoxmedical

  2. Asthma by itself is scary and when coughing is added in, the fear factor goes up. Reading over that quiz made me rethink a few things and how I am handling them. Sleep is necessary and being woken up many times per night messes with that. Fingers crossed for a good resolution!

    1. Thanks for stopping by and good luck!

  3. Thanks for sharing this extremely informative article on allergic cough. I recently read about this on website called I found it extremely helpful.