Causes Of And Treatments For A Persistent Dry Cough
A persistent dry cough can be due to any number of reasons. Unlike a productive cough, where sputum is coughed up, clearing out the lungs or bronchial passages in the process, a dry cough is normally a sign that something is irritating the throat. If the cough is persistent, it's an indication that whatever is irritating the throat isn't going away, which may not be a good sign. The dry cough can be due to smoking, air pollution, an allergy, or something beyond one's control, but if the cough persists, throat irritation is persisting as well, and it would be best to find the cause and attempt to do something about it before something more serious has a chance to set in.
Normal When Following A Cold Or The Flu
We usually don't need to be overly concerned with a persistent dry cough if it follows a viral infection, such as a cold or the flu. A dry cough in such cases is normal. The virus has come and gone, but it has caused inflammation or irritation in the throat, which may last for awhile, hence the occasional dry cough. A dry cough following a bad cold is most often experienced at night, or when we are lying down for a period of time. When we are up and about we tend to cough less, if at all.
A Symptom Of Asthma
Those who suffer from asthma, even a mild form of the disorder, may experience bouts of frequent or persistent dry coughing. The cough itself is usually harmless, and is simply a symptom of the disorder. The dry cough is usually accompanied by other symptoms of asthma as well, wheezing for example. Whatever effectively treats the asthmatic condition will usually also take care of the cough.
Dry Cough In Children
If a child is experiencing persistent dry coughing, it may be advisable to seek the advice of a pediatrician. Unless the cough is resulting from a known disorder, such as an asthmatic condition, it could be the result of a foreign object being trapped in the airways or the lungs. A persistent dry cough is quite rare among children, especially very young children, so swallowing or inhaling a foreign object could well be the reason for the coughing.
There are two ways to treat a dry cough that insists on hanging around. Either the cough itself is treated, or to put it another way, the symptom is treated, or the underlying cause is treated. If we don't know the cause of the cough, or know the cause but can do little about it (pollen in the air, or second hand smoke in the home or workplace, for example), we treat the cough itself. Treatment can vary, but usually consists of taking over-the-counter cough suppressants, or relying on time-tested home remedies that are known to sooth the throat and take away the tickling or irritation, if only for awhile.
A Symptom Of Something Serious
A persistent dry cough can sometimes be a symptom of a serious disease. When this is the case, the cough will normally be accompanied by other symptoms as well. Smoking is among the most common causes of a dry cough, and while smoking itself is not a disease, it can lead to a serious disease, such as COPD or lung cancer. Pleurisy, which is an inflammation of the lining of the lungs, can cause a dry cough to develop, but the cough is usually accompanied by a sharp pain in the chest at the time of the cough. A dry cough can also be one of the symptoms of congestive heart failure. A tumor in the larynx, while not terribly common, will often trigger spells of dry coughing, as can an aortic aneurysm, which is extremely serious and usually requires emergency treatment. If a dry cough persists, it's good to have it looked into. If the cough is accompanied by other symptoms, it's most likely imperative that it be looked into.
Diseases and disorders are not the only causes of persistent coughing. Some medications can cause coughing as well, among them certain medications routinely taken to control high blood pressure.
There is a wide variety of home remedies to choose from when dealing with a dry cough. One of the simplest remedies of all is warm water. Drinking an occasional glass of warm water will often work wonders when it comes to soothing the throat, especially since the warm water tends to reduce any swelling that might be accompanying the cough. The warm water also lubricates the throat to some degree. If warm water sounds too boring, spice it up with a little lemon juice and honey. Drink the mixture before breakfast, and again when it's time for bed. Drinking a third glass during the day won't hurt either. Sea salt is something else you can mix in with the water. While we normally don't drink salt water, a mild saline solution is quite soothing, and does not taste bad. If a honey and water combination or a saline solution doesn't appeal to you, try honey and milk. Honey and milk is a very effective cough suppressant. Drink it at bedtime.