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Persistent Dry Cough: 6 main Causes and What to Do

Persistent dry cough, which usually gets worse at night, despite having several causes, is more common due to an allergic reaction and, in this case, the best thing to do is to fight the allergy, with the use of an antihistamine remedy, such as Loratadine, for example. In addition, the cause of the allergy must be found and exposure to that cause avoided.

However, there are other causes that can also cause persistent cough, especially exposure to pollution, smoking or having a heart or respiratory problem.

So, if the cough continues for more than 1 week, gets worse or is accompanied by other signs such as thick phlegm, presence of blood, fever or difficulty breathing, it is very important to go to the hospital or consult a pulmonologist, a family doctor or a general practitioner to identify the cause and initiate the most appropriate treatment.

The most common causes of persistent dry cough are:

1. Respiratory allergy

Allergy to dust, pet hair or flower pollen causes irritation in the throat, causing coughing to occur until the cause of the respiratory allergy is identified and eliminated. This type of cough is most common in spring or fall.

What to do: It is essential to identify the cause of the allergy, as this way it is possible to avoid new allergic crises. In addition, antihistamine medications can be used to alleviate symptoms.

2. Cigarette and pollution

Cigarette use or exposure to smoke or any type of environmental pollution can cause irritation in the throat, and can also stimulate the cough reflex, which tends to be dry and quite persistent.

What to do: In this case it is recommended to avoid this type of exposure, as well as avoid smoking. This way, it is possible to avoid throat irritation, coughing and the development of other health problems resulting from frequent and/or prolonged exposure to smoke or pollution.

3. Asthma

Asthma is a respiratory problem that causes chronic inflammation of the lungs, which, in addition to a dry cough, results in symptoms such as shortness of breath, wheezing and a feeling of pressure in the chest.

What to do: It is important to follow the treatment indicated by the doctor, which involves the use of inhaled medicines that promote the dilation of the bronchi, facilitating breathing and relieving symptoms. In addition, it is important to identify the factor responsible for triggering an asthma attack, as this way it is possible to avoid further attacks. 

4. Gastroesophageal reflux

Gastroesophageal reflux can also cause a dry cough after eating spicy or highly acidic foods, due to the rise of acid from the stomach into the esophagus. In addition to coughing, other symptoms can include a lumpy feeling in the throat, heartburn, and poor digestion. 

What to do: To alleviate cough and other reflux symptoms, it is important to have a light diet low in fatty foods, in addition to being recommended by the physician to use medications that reduce or neutralize the amount of acid in the stomach.

5. Heart problems

Some heart changes, especially heart failure, can cause fluid to build up in the lungs, which makes the person frequently want to cough. In addition to coughing, there may be chest pain, shortness of breath at rest, leg and foot swelling, and frequent tiredness. 

What to do: In these cases, it is important that the cardiologist is consulted so that tests can be performed to identify the cause of the dry cough and, thus, start the most appropriate treatment not only to relieve the cough, but also to treat the cardiac disorder .

6. COVID-19

COVID-19 is a respiratory infection that can also cause a dry and persistent cough, in addition to difficulty breathing, a runny nose or stuffy nose, fever above 38°C and general tiredness due to compromised lungs. 

What to do: In case of suspected COVID-19 it is important to carry out the rapid test and/or PCR test for COVID-19 to confirm the infection and remain in isolation to avoid transmission to others. In addition, it is important to rest and have a lighter diet. In cases where it is difficult to breathe, it is important to go to the hospital for a chest X-ray and assess the need for admission. 

How To Treat Persistent Cough

Treatment for persistent dry cough should be targeted to address its cause. In the case of dry cough from an allergic cause, in addition to the use of medication prescribed by the doctor, it is important to:

cult to breathe, it is important to go to the hospital for a chest X-ray and assess the need for admission. Check out more details of the treatment for COVID-19.


-How To Treat Persistent Cough

Treatment for persistent dry cough should be targeted to address its cause. In the case of dry cough from an allergic cause, in addition to the use of medication prescribed by the doctor, it is important to:

-Drink at least 1.5 liters of water a day, because water helps keep the airways hydrated and reduces throat irritation;

-Take 1 tablespoon of carrot or oregano syrup about 3 times a day. These syrups have antitussive properties, reducing coughing spells. See how to make these syrups . 

-Drink 1 cup of mint tea, about 3 times a day. Mint has a tranquilizing, antitussive, mucolytic, expectorant and decongestant action, helping to relieve coughing. To make the tea, just add 1 teaspoon of dried or fresh mint leaves to a cup of boiling water and let it rest for 5 minutes, strain and drink afterwards;

-Take medicine for persistent dry cough under medical supervision, such as Vibral, Notuss, Antuss or Hytos Plus, for example;

-Avoid dust indoors, as contact with animals and cigarette smoke can cause persistent dry cough.

Cases of persistent dry cough for more than 1 week deserve more attention, especially if the individual has asthma, bronchitis, rhinitis or any other chronic respiratory disease. It can mean a worsening of the condition and the need to take antihistamines or corticosteroids.

(Reference - https://www.healthline.com/health/dry-cough#treatment, https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/chronic-cough/diagnosis-treatment/drc-20351580)

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