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What is dry cough?

A non-productive, irritating type of cough where no phlegm or mucus is produced is termed as a dry cough. It is generally associated with a tickling sensation in the throat.

What are its main signs and symptoms?

Signs and symptoms associated with dry cough include:

What are the main causes?

A dry cough is mainly caused by:

  • Viral illness (cold, flu [influenza] or post-viral or post-infective cough [in which cough is present for weeks following viral illness])
  • Asthma
  • Whooping cough
  • Inflammation of the larynx (laryngitis) or certain types of lung diseases (interstitial lung disease)
  • Smoking
  • Allergic rhinitis (hay fever, due to inhalation of allergens such as pet dander, pollen or dust) or inhaled foreign body, which is more common in babies and children
  • Medicinal side effects (angiotensin-converting-enzyme [ACE] inhibitors for high blood pressure)
  • Gastro-oesophageal reflux or post-nasal drip (the drainage of mucus secretions from the nose or sinuses down the back of the throat)
  • Snoring and obstructive sleep apnoea

Less common causes of a dry cough include:

How is it diagnosed and treated?

Initially, your physician will take a detailed history of a cough and any other symptoms, following which a physical examination will be performed. Depending on the history, individual’s age and findings on examination, the physician will advise tests which include:

  • Allergy tests
  • Chest X-ray
  • Throat swab (A sample is collected from the back of your throat, and the specimen is tested for infections)
  • Pulmonary function tests

Treatment of a dry cough depends on its causative factor (eg, cough caused by viral infection is self-limiting and resolves on its own within a week or two). The various measures to relieve a dry cough include:


  • Honey coats and soothes the throat and helps to relieve the irritation that triggers a dry cough
  • Drinking plenty of liquids (warm broths, tea, etc.)
  • Gargling with salt water helps a cold and sore throat with dry cough
  • Stopping certain medicines (ACE inhibitors, beta blockers) which trigger dry cough and taking alternative drugs after consulting your physician
  • Taking sips of water reduces the urge to cough
  • Cough suppressants (available as lozenges [containing an antibacterial] or liquid or linctus [cough mixture]) which suppress the urge to cough include:
    • Pholcodine
    • Dextromethorphan
    • Codeine
    • Dihydrocodeine
    • Pentoxyverine
  • Cold and flu combination medicines usually contain the following:
    • An antihistamine
    • A decongestant (to relieve a blocked or stuffy nose)
    • Paracetamol
  • Nasal sprays and inhalers for dry cough due to allergic rhinitis or post-nasal drip include:
    • Saline or corticosteroid nasal spray
    • Corticosteroid inhaler (medicine is breathed in through the mouth)
  • Reflux treatment, which is given to individuals with gastro-oesophageal reflux disease, includes:
    • Treatment with medications that block the acid secretion (such as proton pump inhibitors)
    • Self-care measures include avoiding eating just before bedtime and raising the head of your bed
  1. Medicines for Dry Cough
  2. Doctors for Dry Cough
Dr. K. K. Handa

Dr. K. K. Handa

कान, नाक और गले सम्बन्धी विकारों का विज्ञान

Dr. Aru Chhabra Handa

Dr. Aru Chhabra Handa

कान, नाक और गले सम्बन्धी विकारों का विज्ञान

Dr. Yogesh Parmar

Dr. Yogesh Parmar

कान, नाक और गले सम्बन्धी विकारों का विज्ञान

Medicines for Dry Cough

Medicines listed below are available for Dry Cough. Please note that you should not take any medicines without doctor consultation. Taking any medicine without doctor's consultation can cause serious problems.

Medicine NamePack SizePrice (Rs.)
Ascoril DAscoril D 5 Mg/10 Mg/1.25 Mg Syrup77
Tixy SoftTixy Soft 10 Mg/100 Mg Capsule0
Dr. Reckeweg Justicia Ad DilutionDr. Reckeweg Justicia Ad Dilution 1000 CH136
Bjain Arsenicum Sulphuratum Flavum DilutionBjain Arsenicum Sulphuratum Flavum Dilution 1000 CH175
Xl 90Xl 90 10 Mg/100 Mg Syrup0
ADEL 29 Akutur DropADEL 29 Akutur Drop200
Schwabe Mentha piperita MTSchwabe Mentha piperita MT 68
SBL Rumex acetosa Mother Tincture QSBL Rumex acetosa Mother Tincture Q 76
Dextopen SyrupDextopen Syrup32
Schwabe Laurocerasus CHSchwabe Laurocerasus 1000 CH96
Bjain Pulsatilla LMBjain Pulsatilla 0/1 LM39
Dr. Reckeweg Justicea Adh QDr. Reckeweg Justicea Adh Q 176
Mama Natura NisikindSchwabe Nisikind Globules88
ADEL Justicia Adh DilutionADEL Justicia Adh Dilution 200 CH112
ADEL 33 Apo-Oedem DropADEL 33 Apo-Oedem Drop200
Dr. Reckeweg Stannum Metallicum DilutionDr. Reckeweg Stannum Metallicum Dilution 1000 CH136
ADEL 34 Ailgeno DropADEL 34 Ailgeno Drop200
SBL Asclepias tuberosa DilutionSBL Asclepias tuberosa Dilution 1000 CH86
SBL Justicia Adhatoda LMSBL Justicia Adhatoda 0/1 LM64
Schwabe Aconitum napellus LMSchwabe Aconitum napellus 0/1 LM80
Kufma SyrupKUFMA SYRUP 100ML52

Do you or anyone in your family have this disease? Please do a survey and help others


  1. American lung association. Cough Symptoms, Causes and Risk Factors. Chicago, Illinois, United States
  2. NHS Inform. Cough. National health information service, Scotland. [internet].
  3. MedlinePlus Medical Encyclopedia: US National Library of Medicine; Cough
  4. Health Link. Dry Coughs. British Columbia. [internet].
  5. Healthdirect Australia. Cough. Australian government: Department of Health
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