What causes a dry cough?
Some causes of dry cough include:2
- The common cold
- A post-viral cough
Dry cough can be aggravated by:2
- Air pollution
- Breathing cold, dry air
- Inhaled irritants such as dust or smoke
- A change in temperature
Do I have a dry cough?
Identifying the type of cough you have is an important step in getting the right treatment. A dry cough can also be described as non-productive, tight, tickly and irritating.2
If you have different symptoms, you may have a chesty cough.
How to relieve a dry cough?
For a dry cough, the aim is to reduce cough symptoms and to identify and relieve the underlying cause of the dry cough. A cough suppressant such as dextromethorphan may be used to reduce the urge to cough.2
Self-care tips for dry cough relief
Resting and giving yourself a little TLC can help you manage dry cough symptoms. Try these self-care tips next time you feel the tickle of a dry cough:2
- Honey — Honey can soothe the back of the throat and relieve the irritation triggered by a dry cough.
- Drink plenty of fluids — Warm broths and herbal teas can help soothe your throat.
- Salt water gargle — Gargling with salt water may help with a dry cough when you have a cold or sore throat.
When should I see a doctor about my dry cough?
Seek medical advice if you:2
- start to cough up blood or copious amounts of mucus (phlegm);
- are short of breath or wheezy
- the cough is mainly at night
- have associated chest pain
- have a fever
- have a hoarse voice
- the cough is associated with vomiting or a choking sensation
- have other symptoms such as an ongoing headache, sore ears or a rash
- have recently lost weight or have general muscle aches
- the cough is in an infant aged 6 months or younger
- the cough has lasted longer than 10 days, with little or no improvement
- you have high blood pressure, respiratory illness (such as asthma), gastrointestinal problems or are taking other medicines.
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MAT-AU-2102740, Dec 2021
 Cough in Adults – Lung and Airway Disorders – MSD Manual Consumer Version [Internet]. MSD Manual Consumer Version. Sep 2022 [cited 21 march 2023]. Available from: www.msdmanuals.com/home/lung-and-airway-disorders/symptoms-of-lung-disorders/cough-in-adults
 Cough: dry cough – MyDr.com.au [Internet]. 2021 [cited 21 March 2023]. Available from: https://mydr.com.au/symptoms/cough-dry-cough/
 Bisolvon Dry Oral Liquid CMI March 2021