If your lungs are truly itching, how can you tell it’s your lungs and not something else under your skin like your ribs or muscles?

“When your body is exposed to allergens, like mold or pollen, you may experience an itching sensation in your nose or a tickle in your throat,” says Mark Anderson, MD, DABFM, board certified internal medicine specialist; a partner at Executive Medicine of Texas and who’s with the Staying Young Radio Show 2.0 podcast.

“The same is true for the lungs,” continues Dr. Anderson. “Some people complain of an ‘itch they can’t scratch’ deep within their chest. This is most likely due to fluid or phlegm that has built up within the bronchial tubes of the lungs.

“This itching may cause coughing, the body’s natural defense system. When you cough, the body is working to rid the lungs of this fluid.

“In some instances, itchy lungs can be caused by exposure to chemicals or smoke. This is even more serious than natural allergens found in the air.

“Chemicals can actually burn the lungs — and smoke, even secondhand smoke, can lead to premature aging and lung cancer.

“If you experience itchy lung symptoms that do not subside with allergy medication or the conclusion of an illness such as bronchitis, or if you have a persistent cough that lasts loner than a week, seek medical attention.

“If your cough or itchy lungs are accompanied by a fever, seek medical attention, as this can be a sign of a potentially life threatening illness.”

So now you know: There IS a such thing as itchy lungs. It is not always one’s imagination. Keep in mind that acid reflux can also create the sensation of an itchy feeling in the chest cavity.