Treating a Dry Cough at Home

Are you struggling with a dry cough? Whether you’re dealing with a mild irritation or a persistent problem, there are steps you can take at home to find relief. Read on to learn more about treating a dry cough.

Quick facts: Treating Dry Cough At Home

  • ✅ Honey is an effective cough suppressant and can soothe a sore throat – Harvard Health Publishing (Harvard Medical School)
  • ✅ Warm liquids like tea can reduce the irritation of a dry cough – Mayo Clinic
  • ✅ Gargling with salt water can reduce inflammation in the throat – Healthline
  • ✅ Steam inhalation can help to loosen mucus and reduce coughing – WebMD
  • ✅ Over-the-counter medications like Benadryl and Robitussin can help to reduce coughing symptoms – American Family Physician

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Causes of Dry Cough

A dry cough is a common symptom that is usually caused by a viral infection, allergies, or irritants in the air. It can also be caused by other underlying conditions like asthma, chronic bronchitis, or GERD. It’s important to identify the cause of the dry cough so that you can seek the proper treatment.

Let’s explore the common causes of this condition in more detail:


Allergies can be a common cause of dry coughs. Allergens are often airborne particles such as dust, mold, and pet dander that can trigger a reaction in people who are allergic to them. When the allergen reaches the lungs and airways, it causes an inflammatory response leading to coughing. Allergic reactions can also cause a runny or stuffy nose, watery eyes, sneezing, and post-nasal drip which can aggravate the coughing.

Treating a dry cough due to allergies at home includes:

  • Taking an antihistamine medication to reduce allergic reaction symptoms.
  • Avoiding contact with the allergen if possible.
  • Using a humidifier to add moisture back into the air.


Asthma is one of the most common causes of a dry cough. People with asthma may experience a dry cough during an asthma attack as their airways become constricted and their breathing becomes labored. It is important to note that while a dry cough is not always indicative of asthma, it can be a sign of a more serious underlying condition.

To diagnose asthma, your doctor may run tests such as a chest X-ray or lung function test to rule out other potential causes for your dry cough. Treatment for an asthma-induced dry cough usually focuses on reducing inflammation in the airways through medication and/or lifestyle changes such as avoiding triggers or engaging in regular exercise.

Post-Nasal Drip

Post-Nasal Drip is a common cause of a dry cough. It occurs when mucus builds up in the back of the throat and irritates the airways, triggering a cough reflex. Post-Nasal Drip can also be triggered by allergies, sinus infections, colds, or other upper respiratory infections.

It is typically treated with nasal sprays, decongestants, and antibiotics (depending on what kind of infection is causing it). If you experience post-nasal drip during the winter months when colds are more common, willow bark extract can help alleviate symptoms by reducing inflammation in the throat and chest.

As always, before starting any new treatment for your dry cough make sure to speak with your doctor or healthcare provider first.

Acid Reflux

Acid reflux, or GERD (Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease), is one of the most common causes of dry cough. Acid Reflux occurs when stomach acid flows back up into your esophagus and irritates the lining of your throat. Symptoms can range from burning sensations in your chest and throat to dry cough, difficulty swallowing, and even hoarseness. If left untreated, GERD can cause serious medical complications including Barrett’s esophagus and even cancer.

Treating acid reflux involves lifestyle changes such as avoiding eating too late at night or eating too much before bedtime, as well as taking over-the-counter antacids or prescription medications to soothe symptoms. In severe cases, surgery may be necessary to permanently strengthen the lower esophageal sphincter muscle that helps to keep stomach acids from flowing back into the esophagus.

Viral Infections

Viral infections, such as the common cold or influenza, can cause dry coughs. These viruses can cause inflammation in the airways and lead to difficulty getting air into and out of the lungs. As a result, a person will cough to try to clear their throat and airways.

Viral infections that cause dry coughs are usually accompanied by other symptoms, such as fever, sore throat, runny nose and sneezing. People with viral infections should get plenty of rest and drink plenty of fluids to stay hydrated. Over-the-counter medications can also help with symptoms relief.

For persistent dry coughs caused by a virus, it is best to see a doctor for further assessment and treatment if needed.

Treatment Options

Dry coughs can range from mild to severe, and can make life uncomfortable. Thankfully, there are a number of home remedies that can help reduce the severity of the cough, and provide relief from the symptoms.

In this article, we’ll explore the different treatment options for a dry cough, and discuss how you can use them to find relief:

Over-the-Counter Medications

One of the most common treatments for a dry cough is to take over-the-counter (OTC) medications. OTC medications, such as antihistamines or expectorants, work by addressing the underlying cause of the cough – such as allergies, post-nasal drip, or bronchospasm. Depending on what type of medication you take, they can provide relief from symptoms such as throat irritation or chest congestion. If you’re looking for more help, there are also kennel cough home treatment options that you can try.

Some people may also find relief using an inhaler with a steroid to help reduce inflammation in their airways and allow them to breathe easier. Additionally, taking humidifiers and drinking plenty of fluids can help loosen and thin out mucus in the airways, reducing coughing episodes.

However, it’s important to speak with your doctor before taking any over-the-counter medication for a dry cough as some medications may interact with other medications you are already taking.


Decongestants are a type of medication used to treat a dry cough. They reduce inflammation in the upper respiratory tract and help to clear mucus and phlegm from the airways. Decongestants come in many forms, including pills, liquids, sprays, and drops.

When using decongestants, it is important to follow the directions on the label carefully since taking too much can cause serious health problems. Decongestants are usually taken twice a day, however your doctor may suggest you take them more often if needed. It’s also important to remember that some medications may interact with decongestant medications so make sure you talk to your doctor before using them.


Antihistamines are a common treatment for dry coughs. This type of medicine works by blocking histamine, a chemical in the body that triggers the coughing reflex. The most common antihistamines used against dry coughs are diphenhydramine (Benadryl) and loratadine (Claritin).

These medications can help calm coughing fits and reduce irritation. It’s important to note that antihistamines may cause drowsiness and grogginess, so it’s best to take them at night or when one needs to rest. Antihistamines may not be suitable for people with asthma, high blood pressure, or heart problems. Before taking antihistamines talk to your doctor first.


Antitussives are medications used to relieve coughing. They work by calming the cough reflex, which helps reduce coughing and related throat irritation. The most commonly prescribed antitussive is codeine, although some people prefer over-the-counter remedies such as dextromethorphan.

Dextromethorphan is found in many different cold and cough medications and comes in liquid, capsule, or tablet form. It can be used alone or in combination with other drugs to reduce discomfort associated with a dry cough. Antitussives are safe when taken at the recommended dosage, but they can lead to constipation or drowsiness if taken in large amounts.

Home Remedies

When treating a dry cough at home, there are a variety of home remedies that can be used to alleviate symptoms. Some commonly recommended home remedies for a dry cough include:

  • Increasing one’s fluid intake.
  • Using humidifiers to increase the moisture in the air.
  • Gargling with warm salt water.
  • Using throat lozenges or hard candy to soothe irritation.
  • Avoiding irritants such as smoke or dust mites.
  • Sleeping with an extra pillow at night to help open up the airways.
  • Drinking herbal teas such as lemon and honey tea.

It is important to note that while certain home remedies may be beneficial in alleviating symptoms of a dry cough, they are not always effective for everyone. If the above-mentioned remedies do not provide relief after several days of treatment, then it is important to seek medical advice from a healthcare provider.

Salt Water Gargle

Salt water gargle is a simple and cost-effective way to treat a dry cough at home. To make the saltwater, mix half a teaspoon of salt in 200ml of lukewarm water. Stir until the salt has completely dissolved. Gargle with this salty solution for 10-15 seconds, then spit it out and repeat if necessary. Do this two or three times a day when you have a dry cough. To know more about sore throat home remedies, click the link.

Salt water gargling helps to soothe irritation in your throat which can be caused by coughing, clearing mucus and bacteria that causes infections such as tonsillitis and laryngitis. Additionally, it helps to reduce inflammation which can make your throat feel better and reduce your coughing. Furthermore, salt water can help to moisturize your throat which can help prevent further irritation from occurring due to dryness.

Honey and Lemon

Honey and Lemon is a popular remedy for a dry cough. Honey is known to have natural healing properties, and contains citric acid, which can help reduce mucus production. It can also help soothe a sore throat that often accompanies a dry cough.

A common home remedy for treating this type of cough involves combining honey and lemon juice, either mixed in warm water or brewed as a tea.

In addition to its soothing properties, honey may also be able to coat the throat and reduce inflammation that is caused by coughing. Since lemon juice contains vitamin C, it may also reduce inflammation in the airways leading to fewer episodes of coughing.

For best results, try mixing:

  • 1 tablespoon of honey
  • 1 tablespoon of freshly squeezed lemon juice

and drinking this mixture twice daily until symptoms subside.

Vapor Rubs

Vapor rubs are often the most common home remedies for treating a dry cough. Vapor rubs are topical medications, typically containing menthol and camphor, that help to reduce coughing by suppressing nasal and chest congestion.

To use a vapor rub, it is best to apply the product directly to the chest, as well as under your nose and on your back before bedtime. It is important to note that the vapor rub should only be used on children ages two years or older and should not be applied too close to the eyes or mouth.

Unlike many other home remedies for dry coughs, vapor rubs are generally easy to find in most supermarkets or pharmacies. In addition they are non-prescription and relatively inexpensive compared to other treatments.

Hot Liquids

Hot liquids are a popular home remedy for a dry cough. Hot liquids help to thin and loosen mucus, making it easier for your body to expel it. Additionally, warm liquids can help soothe the throat and reduce irritation.

Common hot drinks such as herbal tea, hot lemon water with honey, chamomile tea, or even a cup of chicken soup can be beneficial when treating a dry cough. If you choose to use honey as part of your home remedy for a dry cough, make sure that you keep in mind the recommended dosage for children under two years old is to not give them honey at all. For more information on kennel cough treatment UK, check out our guide.

Drinking hot liquids is an important part of treating a dry cough at home and it should be done regularly throughout the day to help you stay hydrated and reduce symptoms.

Herbal Tea

Herbal tea is beneficial when you’re dealing with a dry cough. Natural substances like ginger, honey, fenugreek, and turmeric can help reduce inflammation in the respiratory tract and soothe a sore throat.

To make herbal tea at home, steep 1 teaspoon of herbs in hot water for 10-15 minutes. This has been found to be an effective remedy for relieving the symptoms of a dry cough. Additionally, adding honey or lemon juice to your herbal tea can subtly add flavor and offer additional relief from coughing. If you are looking for more whooping cough treatment tips, you might find what you need here.

However, if your symptoms persist or worsen, it’s important to contact your healthcare provider for further guidance.

When to See a Doctor

If you have been experiencing a dry cough that lasts longer than two weeks, it is important to seek medical attention. Other signs to look out for include high fever, difficulty breathing, chest pain, and discolored mucus. If you are experiencing any of these symptoms, it is best to see a doctor immediately to get a proper diagnosis and treatment plan.

Persistent Cough

Persistent coughs are any coughs that continue for more than two or three weeks. This type of cough can range from a mild tickle in your throat to a deep, chest-expanding sensation. Persistent coughs may be accompanied by other symptoms including fever, difficulty sleeping, lack of energy, or even pain.

If you are experiencing any of these symptoms and have had a persistent cough for more than two or three weeks, it is important to make an appointment with your doctor. You may need certain medications or treatments to get rid of the persistent cough and its accompanying symptoms. Your doctor will be able to diagnose the root cause of your persistent coughing and suggest treatment options that are right for you. Additionally, if you are experiencing any other serious symptoms in conjunction with the persistent coughing, it is best to see a doctor as soon as possible.

Coughing Up Blood

When you have a dry cough, it is important to monitor your body and pay attention to any changes in symptoms. If you experience a cough that lasts for more than three weeks, or if you are coughing up blood, it is important to see a doctor right away.

Coughing up blood can indicate serious health issues such as lung cancer, tuberculosis or other infections. Other symptoms that require immediate medical attention include a high fever, sharp chest pain from coughing and difficulty breathing.

Seeing a doctor is also necessary if your dry cough continues despite home remedies and lifestyle changes. A doctor may be able to treat the underlying cause of the cough with medications such as antibiotics or inhalers.

High Fever

High fever is usually a sign of a more serious medical condition and should be evaluated by a doctor. A high fever, defined as higher than 103°F (39.4°C), may be accompanied by chills and sweating and should not be ignored. If the fever is left untreated, it can lead to seizures, confusion or dehydration.

Depending on other symptoms present, a doctor may recommend diagnostic tests such as bloodwork or imaging scans to determine if an infection is present. They may also suggest pain medications or antibiotics for treatment if an infection is found. It’s important to seek medical attention for any high fever in order to prevent potential long-term complications from the underlying cause.

Difficulty Breathing

If you have a dry cough and experience difficulty breathing, it is essential to seek medical attention immediately. Difficulty breathing can be a sign of underlying health conditions, such as asthma or COPD, which can become serious if left untreated. Additionally, difficulty breathing may be the result of viral or bacterial infections that require medical treatment.

If you experience difficulty breathing along with your dry cough, seek medical attention from your primary care physician or an urgent care center. Symptoms like wheezing or chest tightness should be taken seriously and evaluated as soon as possible. Your doctor may order imaging tests (such as X-rays or CT scans) to diagnose your condition and determine the best course of treatment.

FAQs about: Treating Dry Cough At Home

Q1: What are some home remedies for treating a dry cough?

A1: Some home remedies for treating a dry cough include drinking plenty of fluids, avoiding irritants such as smoke, using a humidifier, taking an over-the-counter cough suppressant, and using a honey and lemon mixture.

Q2: Are there any over-the-counter medicines I can take for a dry cough?

A2: Yes, there are a variety of over-the-counter cough suppressants available to treat a dry cough. Be sure to read the label and follow the instructions carefully.

Q3: Is it safe to take a cough suppressant for a dry cough?

A3: Yes, it is generally safe to take a cough suppressant for a dry cough if you follow the directions on the label. However, it is important to talk to your doctor or pharmacist if you have any questions or concerns.

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