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What Causes a Dry Cough

In the context of a cold, often people suffer from an annoying cough which can be either a dry cough or a chesty cough. Dry cough is also known as persistent cough, irritating cough or a cough you suffer from at night time. Chesty cough is also described as a wet cough or productive cough. For the best treatment of your cough symptoms, it is therefore essential to understand which type of cough you have before starting cough treatment.

What is a dry cough?

Many of us have suffered from a dry cough ourselves or experienced family members continuously coughing during the course of a common cold episode. It often gets worse at night.

An irritating tickle in your throat that makes you cough, but no mucus comes up.
That is the typical dry cough. The nagging urge to cough and the persistent coughing can leave you feeling exhausted, with sore ribs and your airways feeling even more irritated.

What are the symptoms of a dry cough?

The following symptoms are typical of a dry cough:

  • Nagging tickle in the airways
  • There is no mucus associated with the cough
  • The chest feels clear, without wheezing or congestion
  • The cough sounds dry
  • Irritating cough may make it hard to sleep at night

Sometimes dry cough can last for a couple of days, or up to 1-2 weeks symptom of a common cold. As described, symptoms of dry cough are different to the symptoms of chesty cough e.g. congested chest, difficulties in coughing up/expelling mucus.

To treat your annoying cough symptoms as effectively as possible, it is crucial to distinguish between the different types of cough. This way you can choose the right cough remedy to treat your cough.

What causes a dry cough?

Dry cough is often caused by an infection of the upper airways with common cold viruses. A chesty cough can follow a dry cough in the context of a common cold episode.

Dry cough can also be caused by a repeated irritation of the respiratory tract for example by cigarette smoke, dust or pollution.

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