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Dry Cough: When it is really a Matter of Concern?

Dry Cough: When it is really a Matter of Concern?

Dry Cough: When it is really a Matter of Concern?
28 Jun 2023

Are you feeling down due to cold or flu affecting your lungs? If yes, then this cough seems to be quite dramatic. Having a chesty and mucus-producing cough is a sign that something is wrong. Also, a dry cough may be really irritating but it does not always feel like something serious which require medical treatment. For some people, it may be like they need to clear throat with cough though you have to do it often. You may even cough after eating or after having certain foods. A dry cough that does not go away has several causes and seems to be different for everyone. A dry cough can have serious concerns and become worse. It is a protective reflex to irritants or inflammation which should not be ignored. Continue reading this blogpost where we have outlined the common reasons and what you need to do next. Know what the cause of dry cough is and when you should visit a doctor.

5 Types of dry cough

  1. Cough that does not go away – A cough you have had for quite sometime is a chronic cough. It seems to be at the worst in the day and may have coughing fits. These coughs can be stubborn and painful causing pulled muscles in old patients with severe cases. This can have several causes such as – inflammation, allergies or side effects of medication.
  2. Tricky cough – Do you know what the ticklish and irritating feeling is at your throat’s back for causing persistent coughing? Well, it is usually the result of inflammation from flu virus, cold or atmospheric factors such as climate or pollution. Post-nasal drip might be another factor in which mucus drips down from the sinuses into the throat’s back.
  3. Barking cough – This cough generally occurs during the day or night probably due to wheezing. It is caused from inflammation such as flu or cold and may be painful.
  4. Plum pit cough – You may feel like there is a lump in the throat that does not go away, how much you swallow. When you have a cough, you will notice somewhat acidic taste. This happens due to acid reflux or GORD where the stomach acid rises up oesophagus and may cause serious conditions.
  5. Wheezy cough – This cough is generally worse during the night or when you are waking up in the morning. It occurs together with a wheezing sound that is similar to a whistle. This sound occurs from tightening of the airways or bronchospasm and is caused by asthma.

Causes of dry cough

Some of these are the following:

  • Allergies / Hay fever due to dust, pollen, pet dander, pollution, second-hand smoke
  • Acid reflux/GORD
  • Viruses
  • Climate such as – dry, cold and change in temperature
  • Asthma
  • Post-nasal drip
  • Bronchitis, Sinusitis, Tonsillitis
  • Laryngitis when the larynx gets inflamed and you tend to “lose your voice”
  • Smoking
  • Medication when coughing is a side effect of ACE inhibitors

About dry cough and asthma

Nearly 10% of people having asthma do not conduct a diagnosis and if you are suffering from any kind of cough, you should see a doctor and know you do not have asthma.

The asthmatic cough is generally accompanied with wheezing sound due to the effect the condition has on your airways. Inflammation will cause them to become narrow and tight which means there is less space for the air to travel through. Though having a dry and wheezy cough is a sign of this condition, it may turn serious thus causing difficulty in breathing.

Certain indications are a cough that becomes worse with exercise or exertion, a feeling of tightness in your chest, shortness of breath or fatigue feeling.

Allergic asthma

Allergic asthma is quite similar to normal asthma, the only difference is that it can be triggered through allergens such as – dust, pet dander, pollen or mould. These are some common allergic triggers for people who suffer from allergic asthma leading to inflammation in the airways of your lungs, difficulty breathing, causing coughing or full-blown asthma attack. Some people with this condition may be triggered with inhaling fumes or smoke, cold weather or strong smells like perfumes. By knowing your triggers and avoiding contact with them, you can deal with this condition.

Post-viral asthma

If the symptoms of asthma are getting worse after a cold, flu, you have fallen sick recently or you have an ongoing cough now, you may be having post-viral asthma. This condition occurs due to inflammatory response to infection of the immune system, which, if it occurs in the lungs, may trigger the airways to swell. Those suffering from this condition will be advised by the doctor for flu shots and other preventative measures to ensure you do not get flu and cold in the first place.

About bronchitis

Bronchitis is a kind of infection which causes the airways of your lungs called bronchi to get inflamed and irritated. This may lead to hacking cough which brings up clear, yellow-gray or green mucus. It can lead to symptoms which are similar to common cold like headache, sore throat or runny nose. Certain risk factors include – smoking, chemicals, exposure to fumes or pollutants which can more likely develop chronic bronchitis causing severe cough.

About pneumonia

Pneumonia is an infection of your lungs that occurs due to bacteria, fungi or viruses. It causes air sacs in the alveoli or lung to get inflamed and fill with fluid. This makes it difficult for your lungs to transfer oxygen into the bloodstream. Pneumonia can be the reason for a cough that brings up mucus. Coughing is a common symptom of pneumonia which can be dry or produce yellow, green or bloody mucus. Other symptoms are – shortness of breath, fever and sweating. People who have pneumonia need to visit a doctor for the treatment.

When a dry cough is serious

If you are having a dry cough that does not go away, it is important to schedule an appointment with the GP. He will tell you the exact cause so that you can perform the right treatment on time. Early treatment is a preferred choice as whether you have a minor disease or recovers from an infection, visit a doctor to know your condition does not get worse.

In the case of having a dry cough, this is very important. Though it is rare, a severe dry cough may occur from some serious conditions which are the following:

Heart failure:

It may be a surprise to you that a dry cough can be an indication of a heart failure. This is caused due to the accumulation of fluid in your lungs. This can occur when the heart does not pump normally. A cough associated with fluid accumulation seems to be the worse first thing in the morning. It may even be the reason for waking up out of breath.

Pulmonary embolism:

A pulmonary embolism is a blood clot in an artery in your lungs. These clots will generally form elsewhere in the body and then travel through the bloodstream to the lungs. A pulmonary embolism can be deadly when it is not treated urgently. A cough can be a symptom of this though it is usually accompanied by blood and extreme chest pain.

Lung cancer:

Lung cancer may not show any symptoms at the early stages. When this condition occurs, a cough seems to be one of the earliest signs. This is a new cough that does not go away and is different to the kinds of cough you have had earlier. The cough might be wheezing, hoarse throat, shortness of breath, cold or repeated lung infections.

Complications with a dry cough

A chronic cough may bring complications which can be the reason for other health conditions. Some of these complications are the following:

  • Wake you up from sleep
  • Cause vomiting
  • Cause dizziness or nausea
  • Cause to lose control of the bladder
  • Interfere with routine activities such as – speaking, exercising or singing
  • Leave you breathless

It is advisable that you do not neglect the signs and symptoms of your body when you feel sick. Schedule an appointment with the GP soon and get thorough diagnosis as well as necessary treatment for your concern.