When you suddenly develop a cough, little thought is given, and it is assumed that an over-the-counter syrup would treat it. However, when even after almost a month, the dry cough shows no signs of stopping, only then one decides to visit a doctor.
What is dry cough?
Dr Parul R Sheth, a health consultant specialising in reproductive biology, says dry cough can be persistent and recurring. “It is the body’s way of clearing the air passages by forcing out harmful substances and foreign bodies. It may be the symptom of an allergy or approaching cold. Smoking, inhaling foreign particles like dust and chemicals in house cleaners, climate changes and pollution can also trigger it. Severe cold or humidity can increase coughing. Other causes include acute bronchitis, asthma, lung problems, viral infections and laryngitis,” she says.
Consultant pediatrician Dr Swati Bapat adds, “Dry cough has no sputum production or expectoration. We are seeing a high number of dry cough cases these days, due to the change in weather. A high rate of viral infections and allergies due to dust, smoke and pollution add to the problems.”
There is no phlegm. One tends to cough continuously as if something is stuck in the throat. The cough comes in bouts and more so during the night. Laryngitis – swelling or infection of the larynx – can give you throat pain and difficulty in breathing.
“Over-the-counter medications usually help. Expectorants help bring up phlegm, which is easier to expel. Cough suppressants, decongestants or antihistamine, on the other hand, quieten the cough and reduce swelling in nasal passages,” advises Dr Sheth.
-Sip water throughout the day to reduce throat dryness.
-Steam inhalation or a vaporiser helps in mucus drainage.
-Throat lozenges can increase salivation, thus providing more lubrication to a dry throat.
-Peppermint, eucalyptus and honey can give symptomatic relief.
-Sip hot green tea to soothe your throat and release mucus.
-Stop smoking and avoid allergens like pollen, cigarette smoke and chemicals.
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