Dry coughs (non-productive) are ticklish and due to irritation in the throat. They do not bring up phlegm or mucus but are irritating & may linger for several weeks.
What Causes Dry Cough?
- Often Dry coughs are a result of upper respiratory infections such as colds and flu but can also be caused by
- use of tobacco
- exposure to air pollution, dust, or smoke
- sore throat
- medications, especially ACE inhibitors
- GERD(gastroesophageal reflux disease)
Signs & symptoms of dry cough can be overlapping depending on its cause for eg. in case of allergies it might worsen when exposed to the offending agent. If due to ACE inhibitors, it improves when the medication is stopped. In GERD cases it is associated with a sensation of heartburn.
Home Remedies for Dry Cough
1. Drink plenty of fluids
Staying hydrated & sipping water/juices at room temperature keep your throat moist & allow proper healing. A daily intake of eight or more glasses of water will make the task easy.
2. Saltwater gargle
Dry cough causes a lot of irritation & discomfort. Gargling with hot saltwater numb and soothe the nerve endings in the throat providing relief. Saltwater also helps kill the bacteria in the mouth and throat.
3. Soup, broth, tea, or another hot beverage
When the throat feels sore and scratchy due to a dry cough, soups/teas/broth/hot beverages come to rescue providing immediate relief. Warm liquids add moisture as well as help in the healing process by keeping you hydrated.
The Menthol in peppermint soothes the throat’s irritated nerve endings providing relief from pain and reducing the urge to cough.
The antibacterial and antiviral properties of peppermint prove beneficial & help reduce congestion. Peppermint essential oil used in aromatherapy is wondrous.
5. Masala chai tea
Ingredients like clove, cardamom, cinnamon & ginger not only add flavor & taste to the tea but are also used to treat conditions such as sore throat and dry cough. The antioxidant & anti-inflammatory properties of the ingredients are effective, soothing & relieving.
The antibacterial properties of Honey relieve irritation by lining the throat and effectively treat dry cough but should not be given to children under 1 year of age.
The antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties of ginger boost the immune system, relieve pain and discomfort. Ginger tea is soothing & refreshing. Add honey to make it more beneficial for dry cough.
Curcumin in Turmeric has anti-inflammatory, antiviral, plus antibacterial properties & may be beneficial for a dry cough. Turmeric is known to treat upper respiratory conditions, bronchitis, and asthma.
9. Marshmallow root
Marshmallow root(a type of herb)used in cough syrups/lozenges is quite effective for soothing the throat and reducing the irritation due to dry cough. Its antibacterial properties work wonders.
10. Eucalyptus oil
Eucalyptus essential oil added to a diffuser, spritzer, or inhaler may help ease dry cough by working as a decongestant. Adding a few drops to hot water & inhaling the steam before sleeping relieves nighttime coughing is soothing and healing too.
11. Cough drops
Medicated lozenges to lubricate and relieve irritated throat tissues are very effective. Their impact depends on their ingredients. The ones containing menthol act as a numbing agent to reduce the urge to cough. Ginger or eucalyptus cough drops may also help.
12. Use humidifiers
A dry cough gets worse in case the air around is dry. It is better to use humidifiers that put moisture into the air providing relief. Furthermore, they help open up the sinuses.
13. Use an air purifier
Airborne irritants such as dust and smoke aggravate throat sensitivity and trigger cough reflex. Using an air purifier can help rid your home of such irritants as well as allergens like pet dander and pollen.
Home Remedies are simple & easy to adapt, but their effectiveness may vary from person to person, so go in for what goes best for you. Never give honey to a child below 1yr of age. Take proper care of yourself but in case the cough is severe/lasts for more than a few weeks or accompanied by fever/other complication consult a doctor.