How to heal a persistent dry cough

Written by meadow milano
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A dry, persistent cough is an annoyance that can be caused by many conditions, including an upper respiratory infection, allergies, asthma, gastric reflux disease, smoking, emphysema or tumour. See your doctor for a physical examination to determine the cause. Your doctor may send you for a chest X-ray to rule out a serious condition. After you have received your medical diagnosis, take steps to improve your dry cough.

Skill level:
Moderately Easy

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Things you need

  • Medical examination
  • Antibiotics
  • Cough medicine
  • Cough drops
  • Medication for gastric reflux
  • Fluids
  • Honey and lemon
  • Smoking cessation classes
  • Vaporiser

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  1. 1

    See your doctor. Your doctor will need to rule out a serious cause of your persistent dry cough. After a thorough medical evaluation, begin treatment. If your cough is related to an infection, your doctor may prescribe antibiotics to clear it up. It is important to finish all your antibiotics. Many people think that when they begin to feel better, they can discontinue their antibiotics. You need to complete the entire course of antibiotics because even though your symptoms have disappeared, you still may have the infection.

  2. 2

    Take cough medicine. You may need cough medicine to help you sleep through the night. Many times, a dry, hacking cough can interfere with a good night's sleep. Taking a cough suppressant will help quiet your cough so you can rest. Check with your doctor before taking a cough suppressant to make sure it is not contraindicated with any other medications you are taking, or with any medical conditions you may have. During the day, try cough drops that may soothe your irritated throat and calm your cough.

  3. 3

    Try an over-the-counter acid reducer. Some coughs are related to the backup of acid that originates from the stomach. By taking acid-reducing medication, you can prevent the backup of acid coming into your throat and causing you to cough.

  4. 4

    Drink plenty of fluids. Coughs can be caused by dryness in the air. To replenish fluids and moisten your throat tissues, drink lots of water. Try to limit your intake of drinks that contain caffeine because they tend to be dehydrating and caffeine can cause nervousness. Herbal tea with honey and lemon can be soothing and effective in improving your cough.

  5. 5

    Stop smoking. Smoking is a frequent cause of persistent dry coughing. Your doctor can recommend a hospital-based smoking cessation class that can help you quit. If you cannot quit altogether, try cutting down the amount of cigarettes you smoke a day. By decreasing your smoking, your cough may have a chance to improve.

  6. 6

    Use a vaporiser. Breathing in steam from a vaporiser can soothe a dry cough and provide moisture into dry air. Sleeping with a vaporiser in your room my help lessen nighttime coughing and help you rest.

Tips and warnings

  • If you have allergies, try to limit your exposure to allergens. When you clean your home, use non-toxic cleaning solutions that may be easier on your lungs.
  • If your cough does not improve, or if it is accompanied by chest pain, fever or if you cough up blood, see your doctor right away. This can signify pneumonia or a lung tumour.

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