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Discussion Starter #1
Hope you guys don't mind me posting here for some advice about my own health, instead of my cats'! I'm seriously out of ideas here so I don't know what else to do. I figure maybe if I ask enough people, someone will know what's going on.

I have a very frustrating problem. Every night, when I go to bed, I start coughing uncontrollably. It's so bad I often can't fall asleep for hours. Sometimes taking a hot shower helps, sometimes it doesn't.

The weird thing is, this only happens in one room of my condo. I tried moving the bed to a different room, and I was cough-free that night, so it's clearly something in the bedroom, and clearly nothing in/on the bed and sheets.

I don't even know how to begin solving this problem. We do have mold in our attic, but we had a guy come out to treat it yesterday and he assured us the spores would not be floating around if left undisturbed, and that if they were floating around, they'd be in every room, not just one (the attic door isn't even above the bedroom). He also inspected the bedroom and said he did not see any signs of mold growth in there.

We don't have central air/heat and there are no vents in the bedroom. Opening or closing windows doesn't seem to make a difference. The only furniture in the bedroom is the bed, two dressers, and my boyfriend's guitar.

I'm so frustrated from lack of sleep and I really don't know what else to do. I suppose I could go to a doctor, but I'm not sure what they could do beyond referring me to an allergist and testing me for a million different things in the hopes we might stumble upon something random. I can't even think of what might be in that room that's not in others. My only other option is just never using that room, which is silly, and not ideal in a tiny 2-bedroom condo.

Ideas? What could be causing this?
 

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Discussion Starter #2
Also I should note, I've been living here for about a year and this problem didn't start until a few months ago. So whatever it is apparently wasn't there when I moved in. I can't think of anything we've added to the condo beyond a fish tank in the living room and the cats (which of course go in every room).
 

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Maybe dust mites? They can get in the bedding, pillows, mattress. Do a superclean of the room, damp wipe the walls, vaccum the mattress, then get a new cover for it, throw out your old pillows and get new ones. Try to keep bedroom well vaccumed and dusted. Change beddding 2x/wk. and launder in hot water. Change pillowcase every day. If that doesn't improve things, then buy an air purifier, I think some also are like a humidifier. Since you notice a difference with a shower, maybe a humidifier itself may help. Do you sleep with the window open a little?----does that help or not?

It may be you're a bit allergic to the cats.....don't let them in the bedroom during the day or night. Hope some of these things help. Getting a good night's sleep is very important to your health and to function well.

http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/dust-mites/DS00842
 

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Discussion Starter #4
We've tried vacuuming and wiping off the walls. Also I don't think it's anything in the bedding/pillows/mattress since moving the bed to a different room and sleeping there worked. I didn't cough once. It's only when I'm in that one room for an extended period of time. Same applies to the cats. They slept with us on the bedding they're always all over when we moved the bed to a different room, and I was fine.

We tried an air purifier too, and don't want to try a humidifier since we're actually having condensation problems in the condo right now. It's already too humid in here.

Having the window open doesn't seem to make any difference.

You can see why I am so stumped. :( I've already tried so many things and wracked my brain for every possible option.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Why are you asking us? No one here is a doctor. Go and see one.
Unfortunately I don't currently have one. I've been trying to find a new general practitioner that's covered by my insurance for a while and it's proving difficult. Even if I can find one soon, the chances of my getting an appointment immediately (especially during the winter) are slim.

I am still looking, but until I can find one this is really interfering with my sleep and I was hoping someone might have some clues as to what I could try investigating or eliminating in that room. It seems pretty obvious that it's an allergy. So I assume a doctor would refer me to an allergist and run a battery of common allergy tests which may still not narrow down the cause. Trying to figure out possible causes seems like a good idea.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
To clarify, I'm skeptical of a doctor's ability to solve the root of this problem because I am pretty sure I know what it is: allergic asthma. I had asthma as a child and this feels exactly like it.

A doctor can certainly treat the symptoms by putting me on an inhaler again, but that isn't something I'd like to be on forever if I don't need to be (and the fact that I only have this problem in one room suggests I definitely don't need to be), so if I can find what's actually causing the reaction, that would be preferrable, and I'm not sure that part is something a doctor can help with unless they have some way of testing me for allergies to everything in that room. I'm just trying to get some ideas of potential allergens to narrow the culprit down.
 

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I'm guessing there is something in THAT particular room - good luck finding it - does the room have a rug? maybe something in or under the rug?
 

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Discussion Starter #9
It does have a rug! I did a cursory test of laying next to it and inhaling deeply (did the same test with the cats a while ago actually) but maybe I wasn't exposed to it long enough to produce symptoms.

The coughing usually seems to start after being in there for a while (last night I managed to fall asleep pretty fast and it didn't bother me until Apollo woke me up in the middle of the night).

I suppose one thing I could try is just systematically removing things from the room one at a time.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
Someone on another forum (I am seriously just polling everyone I know for allergen ideas since I'm so stumped) mentioned the guitar might be the issue? It's very very dusty because it hasn't been played in over a year. The only time the dust is disturbed is when the cats run into it while playing (which is actually often).

So I think the guitar may be the first to go tonight. I am pretty sure excess dust triggers my asthma. I had the same kind of violent coughing fit when I was looking under the kitchen sink (searching for mold). It was very dusty under there.
 

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Do you use a lotion or face wash before bed?I used to do that when I was about 16 and it turned out to be my lotion.
 

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Discussion Starter #13
I sometimes use Stridex face wipes. Not every night though. I can't remember if that coincides with the coughing at all. I can try paying more attention to whether or not I cough only when I use them.
 

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Discussion Starter #15
I had that happen to me and found out that there was black mold in my closet from a flood we had that my realty company didn't clean up properly.
Closet! I never thought to check the closet! Not sure why. I guess I was more focused on things right around the bed. I'll poke around in there today with a flashlight and see if I can find anything.

Since we have mold problems in our attic due to a humidity problem in the condo, I would not be surprised if there's mold elsewhere. I also considered it might be under the carpet.
 

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when you moved to the other bedroom for the night did you take the same bed/bedding/pillows and did you spend more than one night in the other room?

Does it happen when you lay down anywhere else? Like on the couch or the floor?

Is husband using something different in his hygiene? Something that's uncovered(no pun intended) when he strips down for bed?
 

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Discussion Starter #17
when you moved to the other bedroom for the night did you take the same bed/bedding/pillows and did you spend more than one night in the other room?
I did take the bedding with. I only spent one night in the other room so I suppose it could have been a coincidence.
I do know that I'm fine when we spend the night at my parents' place (which is usually once a week) so it's definitely something in the condo at least.

Does it happen when you lay down anywhere else? Like on the couch or the floor?
Haven't tried the couch yet. I considered sleeping out there as a test but haven't tried it yet because it's been so cold and our couch is leather. :(

Is husband using something different in his hygiene? Something that's uncovered(no pun intended) when he strips down for bed?
Boyfriend ;) and nope, he's using all the same stuff. I did wonder if I was allergic to his deodorant or shampoo or something at first, but since I never seem to have problems when we're spending the night at my parents' house, I don't think it's him. Only seems to happen here.

Thank you guys for all the help so far. I know it's kind of a random topic, but I figured the more people I had suggesting potential allergens, the greater the chance someone would think of something I hadn't. It's gotta be an allergy of some sort, I just need to narrow it down.

I am still considering making an appointment with an allergist to get tested. Maybe I'll get "lucky" and find out it's something really common and obvious that I hadn't thought of. I'm not sure how much they test for exactly. I suppose it would be nice to know exactly what I'm allergic to anyway since I seem to have allergy problems frequently. The only things I'm 100% certain I'm allergic to are most perfumes/scented candles, smoke, cat scratches, and water (on skin contact).
 

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You should see your vet immediately, could be kennel cough. Are you also peeing inappropriately? It may be a UTI. Keep your bum clean, baby wipes are great for that, but make sure they're unscented. Try switching to raw food. Stay inside. Hang out on cat trees and enjoy the view. And play nice with others, no fighting. Get some Feliway, that will keep you calm. And you may need baby gates to keep you separated from others until you're all better and so you don't eat out of anyone else's dish.
 

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After you try moving the guitar out try the pillows. I won't use icky foam pillows. I *LOVE* goosedown but I can't use them for more than a couple of years and they have to be replaced or I start wheezing.

I asked about laying in other places to see if it might be medical, fluid in your chest, inner ear problems, etc....
 

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You should see your vet immediately, could be kennel cough. Are you also peeing inappropriately? It may be a UTI. Keep your bum clean, baby wipes are great for that, but make sure they're unscented. Try switching to raw food. Stay inside. Hang out on cat trees and enjoy the view. And play nice with others, no fighting. Get some Feliway, that will keep you calm. And you may need baby gates to keep you separated from others until you're all better and so you don't eat out of anyone else's dish.
Haha actually while I was trying to google this problem I kept getting hits for kennel cough. I'd sample some of the cats' raw, but alas, I am a vegetarian!
Clearly I just need to munch on some more raw vegetables. ;)

I actually really wish this had a simple food cure. Normally when I'm sick I've got specific things I can eat: pickles for nausea, citrus fruit for colds and sore throats...sadly I've yet to find any food that makes allergy-induced asthma feel better. :(

Now if only a good human doctor were as easy to find around here as a good vet...

After you try moving the guitar out try the pillows. I won't use icky foam pillows. I *LOVE* goosedown but I can't use them for more than a couple of years and they have to be replaced or I start wheezing.

I asked about laying in other places to see if it might be medical, fluid in your chest, inner ear problems, etc....
Yeah, laying down definitely aggravates the problem, but some allergen in that room seems to be inducing the initial coughing. My boyfriend uses goosedown pillows but I don't (I find them too soft). I considered the pillows, and actually bought imitation allergy-friendly goose down for him a few weeks ago, but no luck!

We actually changed all of our bedding a few weeks ago in an attempt to solve this. Bought new pillows, pillow cases, sheets, and bedspread. And sure enough, once all the new stuff was on the bed and we settled in, I started coughing like usual. Ah well, at least we have nice new bedding now. We needed some new stuff anyway.
 
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