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Lung diseases

Lung itching

09/14/2006

Question:

I have been suffering on and off from `itching lungs` for the past year. I got a head cold last September that turned into an infection in my lungs (wet coughing, etc.) but it passed after a couple weeks. I believed all was well again until the next time I got a sore throat that December. The cold immediately irritated my lungs and they became very itchy. That lasted for about 3 weeks, I did go to see my doctor and had xrays but nothing showed and by the time the results were in my itching was almost gone. I have had a few boughts of pneumonia in the past when I was 7 (I`m 21) and I had it again this past spring. Once again I have a cold and my lungs are extremely itchy. Could this be due to pneumonia? My doctor believed it could be a viral infection, but he was unsure. Every breath in feels like im breathing feathers and it is not located in one spot. Is there something I can do to aleviate this? Should I go for a CT test? (Often by the time the tests are scheduled here in Canada I am better, would it still show whatever is affecting me?) Please let me know! Thanks.

Answer:

I am not quite sure what is causing the sensation of itching within the lungs.  Different people experience lung symptoms differently, such as breathlessness or wheezing can be described by different people in very different terms.

The association with respiratory infections suggests the possibility of reactive airways disease or asthma.  It might be beneficial to obtain pulmonary function studies, measures of your ability to move air in and out of the lungs (a functional test of lung capability) when you are feeling well and when you have the sensation of itching.  It is possible that the itching is wheezing or bronchospasm that might be relieved by inhaled bronchodilators.

If the pulmonary function tests are not revealing, it might be helpful to see a pulmonologist or lung specialist for further evaluation.

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Response by:

Ralph   Panos, MD Ralph Panos, MD
Associate Professor
College of Medicine
University of Cincinnati