Easy Dry Cough Treatment

Last modified on August 2021
With inputs from Dr. Sreelekha Daruvuri, General Physician

Key Takeaway:
– Dry cough is a common problem where there is no phlegm production. There is a constant urge to cough and irritants in your throat. Dry cough treatment is necessary in prolonged and persistent conditions. We have various treatments available for the same.
– Dry cough treatment is available by medical and at home methods. These treatment methods include salt water gargle, humidifier usage, drinking hot beverages, menthol cough drops, consuming hers and avoiding irritant food like fried or junk food.
– There are two types of cough: Productive and Non-Productive. Dry cough comes under the non-productive cough.
– Causes of dry cough include: GERD, post nasal drip, viral infection, asthma, collapsed lung, lung cancer, ACE inhibitors, environmental irritators, heart failure and whooping cough
– Acknowledge the extreme signs and consult a medical expert on priority if the situation gets intense.

Last modified on August 2021
With inputs from Dr. Sreelekha Daruvuri, General Physician

Key Takeaway:
– Dry cough is a common problem where there is no phlegm production. There is a constant urge to cough and irritants in your throat. Dry cough treatment is necessary in prolonged and persistent conditions. We have various treatments available for the same.
– Dry cough treatment is available by medical and at home methods. These treatment methods include salt water gargle, humidifier usage, drinking hot beverages, menthol cough drops, consuming hers and avoiding irritant food like fried or junk food.
– There are two types of cough: Productive and Non-Productive. Dry cough comes under the non-productive cough.
– Causes of dry cough include: GERD, post nasal drip, viral infection, asthma, collapsed lung, lung cancer, ACE inhibitors, environmental irritators, heart failure and whooping cough
– Acknowledge the extreme signs and consult a medical expert on priority if the situation gets intense.

Chapter 1: What is a Dry Cough

To learn about dry cough treatment, you need to understand what an ordinary cough is. A cough is an instant reflex reaction that relieves your airway from mucus and irritants. Medically speaking, there are two types of cough: 

  1. Productive cough- That creates mucus or irritating phlegm and clears it out from your airways and lungs.
  2. Non-productive cough- That does not create mucus or phlegm. It is commonly known as a dry cough.

There are many causes of a dry cough, from obvious ones like acid reflux to lesser-known ones like environmental allergies. Regardless of the cause, you need to know how to get rid of dry cough before it seriously impacts your routine. We will be elaborating on the home remedies for dry cough at night too because that is the most common time of experiencing it. From medical experts, below are a few common and uncommon causes of dry cough:

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Chapter 2: Causes of Dry Cough

Common causes of dry cough
1) Gastroesophageal reflux disease(GERD)- One of the most common dry cough reasons include gastroesophageal reflux disease(GERD). Your oesophagus is connected to your stomach and your mouth. Additional symptoms of GERD include:

  • Pain in swallowing food
  • Chest ache
  • Heart burning sensation
  • Feeling lumps in the back of your neck and throat
  • Chronic cough
  • Persistent sore throat
  • Voice hoarseness

Try finding aid through changing eating habits and general lifestyle changes. You can also consult a gastroenterologist for additional GERD and dry cough remedies at home. You now know how to get rid of dry cough by fixing your acid reflux problem. 

2) Post nasal drip: The excess mucus secretion from your nose is medically known as post nasal drip. If you experience seasonal allergies like a common cold, the layers in your nose react by creating more mucus than commonly produced. In comparison to your healthy mucus, this mucus is more runny and watery. Therefore, it easily slides down the back of your throat. Post nasal drip can itch at the back of your throat and is another dry cough reasons to acknowledge. 

Additional symptoms of Post nasal drip include:

  • Feeling lumps in the back of your neck and throat
  • Soreness in throat
  • Problems in swallowing food
  • Watery and dripping nose
  • Excessive coughing at the night

Dry cough treatment is possible when you fix the post nasal drip problem. It usually is because of a virus, common flu, allergy or bacterial infection. One of the common home remedies for dry cough at night includes using a hot steam bath, and spending extra minutes in the shower will help fix your sinuses. You can even use a saline nasal spray to remove extra mucus from your nose. If you are experiencing an allergic reaction you can get the allergic risk assessment test done that will give you a detailed report of your common allergies and how to stay safe from it.

 3) Viral infection: Viral infections are usually common that occur due to general weather changes or an allergy. However, we need dry cough treatment as it lingers on longer than the viral infection itself. That is why once your common cold is resolved, you feel dryness in your throat and a persistent itch that could almost last for 1 month. That’s the result of irritants in your airways. To get rid of dry cough after a viral infection, you must know that it requires patience and time. Prolonged coughing will only lead to irritation in your throat. You can try this easy dry cough treatment at home by intaking warm liquids and soothing your throat. Do this regularly and give your airways time to improve. With the ongoing pandemic, it is advisable to get an RT PCR test done that will help you take better care of your health.

4) Asthma: One of the leading dry cough reasons is that you have asthma. If you are asthmatic, you have difficulty breathing at times because your airways become narrow after swelling up. It is a major symptom of dry cough. Coughs in such a case can be both productive as well as non-productive in nature. Coughing is a very common symptom for people diagnosed with asthma. 

Additional symptoms of asthma include:

  • Prolonged whistling sound while breathing out
  • Constant wheezing
  • Chest ache and tightness
  • Excessive dry coughing while sleeping

Get to know more about Asthma from this blog.

Uncommon Causes of Dry Cough:
There are various uncommon causes where people need dry cough treatment immediately. These causes are hard to identify but are certainly a reason. They include:

  • Collapsed lung
  • Lung cancer
  • ACE inhibitors
  • Environmental irritators
  • Heart failure
  • Whooping cough

Want to know more about other causes of dry cough? Get an appointment with a medical professional in just one click!

Chapter 3: Dry Cough Treatment by Medical Measures

A dry cough is often uncomfortable. However, there is dry cough treatment at home available through OTC medications. If you wish to treat dry cough yourself, then here are few home remedies:

Decongestants:

Decongestants are available as OTC medications that can treat your sinuses and nasal congestion. After being diagnosed with a common cold or any similar virus, the lining of the nose begins to swell up and as a result, it blocks your airway passage. Decongestants effectively work on tightening the blood vessels in your nose so that the blood flow is reduced. With the swelling gradually reducing, you no longer feel discomfort or difficulty while breathing. It is one of the easiest ways for dry cough treatment. Anyone over the age of 12 can have a decongestant. If you’re unsure which decongestant or which OTC medicine would be right for you then consult an ENT specialist who will go through the depth of the problems and ensure that you get rapid results.

Cough syrups and expectorants

There are various brands of dry cough treatment medicines available. Cough syrups and expectorants are two of the impactful types of OTC cough medicines that you must try for cough relief. Cough syrups are great for blocking your dry coughs. It is one of the leading remedies for dry cough at night. Expectorants are suitable for wet coughs where mucus is secreted when you cough.

Consult the best general pulmonologist to learn more about the risk of dry cough and get personalised treatment!

Chapter 4: Home Remedies for Dry Cough Treatment

1) Honey: Honey has rich properties that are beneficial in reducing inflammation in the throat. It prevents sore throats and reduces dry cough. 
Have warm water with half a lemon and add one tablespoon of honey. If you have a habit of having corn flakes or muesli, then you can add honey in them too.

2) Salt Water Gargle: Gargling with salt water promotes healing and soothes inflamed tissues. If you see these dry cough symptoms in infants, then there are alternative measure to take.
Have 200ml of lukewarm water and add 1 teaspoon of salt to it. Stir it well and take a sip. Tilt your head back so that water is near your throat and gargle gently for 20-30 seconds. Then spit out the water. Don’t consume the gargled water. Repeat this process till there is no longer any water.

3) Menthol cough drops:  Easily accessible at any pharmacy, menthol cough drops are a great dry cough treatment to do at home. They have a cooling effect that reduces dry cough by soothing the irritant tissues. 

4) Humidifiers: Humidifiers are basic household machines that add moisture to the air in your room. IF you are in heated weather, you will have inflamed throat issues. You can use a humidifier in your living room, hall or bedroom so that your dry coughs heal fast.

5) Hot and healthy beverages: Intake warm liquids like tea, soup or broth as it adds moisture and provides instant relief to your throat. Warm liquids help in hydration and quicken the remedial method. You need to make sure you detoxify your body too.

6) Herbs: Herbs have anti-inflammatory properties that prevent a sore throat. It is a great dry cough treatment that will not only cure your throat but also improve your immune system.
Add herbs like thyme, peppermint, garlic, turmeric, liquorice root and marshmallow root to your diet by brewing them in your tea or ideal dish.

7) Vitamins: Increase vitamin intake as it is an organic method of healing your regular functionalities. Vitamin C or multivitamins will be great for resolving dry coughs. Follow a nutritious vitamin diet plan that will answer all your questions about vitamins and minerals to intake.

8) Avoid irritants: Make sure to be safe from triggers that can affect your nasal and respiratory health. Stay away from:

  • Smoke
  • Cleaning products
  • Pet hair
  • Perfumes
  • Pollen

COVID-19 and Dry Cough
One of the most common symptoms of COVID-19 is a dry cough. Please make sure to watch for early signs and take precautionary measures too.

Some basic guidelines if you feel you have a persistent dry cough or other COVID-19 symptoms include:

  • Staying at home
  • Isolate yourself from other family members for at least 14 days
  • Wear cloth mask 
  • Consult a doctor
  • Get an RT PCR test done as soon as possible
  • Wash hands regularly
  • Avoid sharing household items, use disposable
  • Stay calm and utilize this in healing yourself

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When to See a Doctor for Dry Cough Treatment
Considering that dry coughs are common, you should not ignore the signs of prolonged, persistent or painful dry coughs. Get dry cough treatment done immediately by contacting a healthcare specialist. Do get a check done if the dry cough lasts more than 3 weeks or worsens within that period. If the symptoms of dry cough are prolonged and persistent, get medical expertise immediately.

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Chapter 5: Frequently Asked Questions on Dry Cough Treatment

1. What are the best home remedies for dry cough at night?
The best home remedies for dry cough at night are:

  • Steam before sleeping
  • Gargling with warm water and added salt
  • Get plenty of rest
  • Cough syrup or cough drops

2. How to instantly stop cough
Saltwater gargle is the easiest and fastest way of killing dry cough. Gargle with lukewarm water added with salt at least 3-4 times a day to see efficient results.

3. Can we have juice if we have a cough?
You can have Pineapple juice with honey, ginger, pepper and salt. Avoid having a cold juice as it might aggravate the cough. If you are looking for hydration then you can choose these 10 beverages that will keep you hydrated.

4. Which foods to avoid if experiencing dry cough?
Avoid Fried foods, processed foods, dehydrated food, milk and citrus food as it may irritate your throat even further and result in prolonged coughing. Adhere to these simple eating habits for effective results.

5. Additional common symptoms of dry cough
Flu, hoarse voice, runny nose, nasal irritation, scratchy throat and throat ache are some of the other common symptoms of dry cough that you need to acknowledge.

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