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There are a number of reasons for a patient to develop a dry cough, ranging from the early signs of a respiratory infection to a cancerous growth in the lungs. Persistent dry coughs should be treated by a doctor, as he or she can determine the cause and recommend a treatment which will address the underlying issues. Failure to receive treatment for this kind of cough can allow an underlying problem to become quite severe, a very undesirable outcome.
Some people experience dry coughs in the early stages of a respiratory or viral infection, or when an infection is on the wane. When such infections are at their peak, the cough usually becomes productive, with coughs bringing up sputum, in contrast with a true dry cough, which tends to feel dry and rasping. People with chronic infections can develop very severe coughs which may leave the throat feeling very tender.
Irritation to the lungs or trachea is another common cause. People with asthma often have chronic dry coughs, as do smokers and people who live in areas with substantial air pollution or very dry air. A foreign body in the throat can also cause coughing as the throat experiences irritation and attempts to expel the object which does not belong. Gastroesophageal reflex disease (GERD) can also cause coughing, as the gastric juices irritate the lining of the trachea and generate coughing.
Certain medications are associated with dry coughs, in which case the cough is usually listed as a side effect. Pulmonary diseases are another common cause, as are allergies, especially seasonal allergies to pollen and other particulates which can be present in the air. Sinus problems and an issue known as postnasal drip, in which mucus accumulates in the back of the throat, are also linked with coughing, although more commonly people with sinus problems cough up mucus.
A rasping, hacking cough can be extremely irritating and frustrating, not just for the patient, but for the people he or she lives and works around. Coughing is a sign that something in the respiratory system is distressed or not working properly, and it indicates that a trip to the doctor is necessary. There may be cases in which no treatment is available, but going to the doctor is still important, so that he or she can determine the cause of the coughing. Doctors may also be able to provide suggestions which can help to alleviate the cough, even if it cannot be cured.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is the most common cause of a dry cough?
Postnasal drip is the primary cause of a dry cough. Due to allergies, a cold, or the flu, mucus from the nose and sinuses can build up at the back of the throat and cause postnasal drip. The mucus buildup irritates the throat and results in a dry cough. A dry cough can also be brought on by asthma, smoking, air pollution, and some drugs.
How can I tell if my dry cough is caused by allergies?
You can also have other allergy symptoms, including sneezing, itchy eyes, and a runny or stuffy nose if allergens are the root of your dry cough. A tingling or itching feeling in the throat's rear is also possible. Allergies probably caused your dry cough if the symptoms worsen when exposed to particular allergens, like pollen, dust, or pet dander.
Are there any home remedies for dry cough?
Yes, there are several natural treatments for dry cough. Warm liquids, such as herbal tea, should be consumed in large quantities to soothe the throat and lessen the irritation causing the dry cough. Gargling with salt water also has its benefits. A humidifier or a hot shower can relieve inflammation and loosen mucus. Try combining a teaspoon of honey with a glass of warm water.
Is dry cough a serious problem?
A dry cough may occasionally be an indication of a more severe condition. It's crucial to visit a doctor if the dry cough doesn't go away or if other symptoms like fever, breathing difficulties, or chest pain follow it. A dry cough may also be a sign of asthma, a serious condition that requires medical attention.
How should a dry cough be treated?
Finding and treating the root of your dry cough is the best course of action. You should take action to lessen your exposure to allergens if you believe allergies are the root of your dry cough. If you think a cold or the flu is to blame for your dry cough, rest, hydrate well, and take over-the-counter drugs to ease your symptoms. It's crucial to get medical help if the cough persists or is accompanied by other symptoms.