How to treat dry cough in an adult at home

In most cases, coughing is a reflex defense reaction, by which the body gets rid of accumulated sputum and clears the airways. However, a dry, unproductive cough causes discomfort and does not bring relief during the illness.

In general, cough is a symptom characteristic of most inflammatory diseases of the respiratory system. It can also be a sign of an allergic reaction.

There are two types of cough:

  • wet cough with outgoing sputum;
  • dry cough or unproductive.

Wet cough, accompanied by sputum. Its useful function is that microbes contained in the secretions are removed from the respiratory tract, thereby accelerating the healing process and eliminating the development of complications.

Dry unproductive cough usually does not bring relief, it is very debilitating in the form of attacks. Such a cough contributes to significant irritation of the respiratory tract, causes vomiting and damage to mucosal tissues. Another classification is based on the duration of the time period during which the patient coughs.

Depending on this, the cough may be:

  • acute - up to 2 weeks;
  • prolonged - up to 4 weeks;
  • subacute - lasts no more than 2 months;
  • chronic - the patient coughs for more than 2 months in a row.

There are many ways to eliminate this unpleasant symptom, so we will look at how to treat a dry cough in adults in this article.

Causes of dry cough

Dry cough is a manifestation of the reflex-protective mechanism aimed at eliminating the irritating factor (inflammatory, atrophic, mechanical, chemical or temperature) from the respiratory tract. According to some classifications, there are more than 53 reasons for this condition.

A dry cough in adults most often develops against the background of an acute respiratory disease, such as bronchitis, tracheitis, pharyngitis, laryngitis, etc. In this case, the patient first develops a slight cough, which in a few hours or two or three days turns into an intense dry cough. .

In addition, the patient complains of other symptoms of acute respiratory viral infections: fever, runny nose, worsening of the general condition. Gradually, the nature of the cough changes from dry to wet, that is, the patient begins sputum separation.

There are also a number of other factors that can trigger dry cough:

  • smoking;
  • tuberculosis;
  • heart failure;
  • bronchial asthma;
  • viral infections, in particular - bronchitis, pneumonia, whooping cough;
  • hit of a foreign body in the respiratory tract;
  • dust and allergens.

Also provoking factors can be:

  • dry air in the room where the patient is located;
  • lack of sufficient amount of fluid entering the body.

All the causes of dry cough in adults are that the bronchi and lung tissue are not able to get rid of the disease agent on their own.

Long dry cough in an adult

Often a dry cough occurs during a cold, if a weakened immune system does not cope with its protective functions, and the disease passes into the bronchi. As a result, acute bronchitis appears, which, in the absence of proper treatment, enters a chronic stage. A prolonged cough in an adult can lead to deformation of the bronchial walls, which leads to asthma, lung abscess and pneumonia.

A long dry throat cough and severe tickling in the pharynx occurs in chronic pharyngitis. A very long spasmodic cough, accompanied by pain in the side, shortness of breath and fever may occur during pleurisy.


Symptoms that most often accompany a strong cough in an adult:

  1. Runny nose or, on the contrary, stuffy nose and paranasal sinuses. Difficult breathing and shortness of breath with the slightest exertion and even without it.
  2. Hoarse voice.
  3. Nausea, the urge to vomit flesh to the very vomiting.
  4. Increased local lymph nodes.
  5. Symptoms of general malaise are body aches, fever, fever, sweating, and drowsiness.

How to treat dry cough in adults

Successful treatment of this condition is based on an accurate diagnosis and the elimination of the causes of each of them. All therapeutic activities are carried out under the close supervision of a physician.

In the treatment of painful barking dry cough in adults, in contrast to wet cures, drugs are used that suppress cough due to the effect on the cough reflex.

In fact, this is not a treatment as such, but symptomatic therapy aimed at reducing cough, because in this situation, the cough reflex does not benefit the body, and even the contrary, it can give a complication in the form of pneumothorax and pneumomediastinum.

General methods of treatment of dry cough in adults at home:

  • regular wet cleaning indoors.
  • control of air temperature in the house (not higher than 22C).
  • compress on the chest.
  • heavy drinking regimen (teas, milk and Borjomi);
  • do not use aggressive cleaning agents near the patient;
  • steam inhalation. They are very helpful in dry coughing. Add baking soda, decoctions of herbs, etc. to the water.
  • a diet with enough calories.

Drugs for the treatment of dry cough are divided into 2 types: central and peripheral actions.

Cough medicine

For the treatment of dry cough in an adult, medicines are prescribed that have an antitussive effect in combination with a sedative, anesthetic, and a weak antispasmodic effect.

  1. Usually used so-called drugs from the group of mucolytics. Ambroxol is considered the most common among them. This drug increases the secretion of mucus, which is implemented the basic principle of the treatment of dry cough - transfer it to wet.
  2. Sometimes drugs with a narcotic effect are used to suppress the cough center, for example codeine, ethyl morphine, glicine, prenoxadiazine, oxedelin. This type of drugs that suppress the cough reflex in the cerebral cortex.

You should know that we will not allow the simultaneous reception of antitussive and expectorant drugs because of the risk of bronchial obstruction with sputum.

Treatment of dry cough folk remedies

There are many recipes to help cure folk remedies as well as protect the body from the effects of the diseases that accompanied this symptom.

  1. If a dry cough has appeared, the following folk remedy will help to cure it: moisten cotton cloth with sunflower oil. Cover the entire breast with this fabric, plastic film on top, cotton or linen fabric on top, warm scarf. Sleep like this all night. In the morning, the cough is getting weaker and softer.
  2. The easiest way to cure cough is to warm the thoracic internal organs - at night to draw an iodine net on the chest;
  3. Drink milk hot, be sure to add alkaline water to it, honey, so a large amount of mucus will form and a dry cough will quickly pass.
  4. Cough compress should consist of vegetable fat, a small amount of mustard, alcohol. You can also use potatoes, boiled in a "uniform" and natural honey. All ingredients should be thoroughly mixed and spread on the back, and not rinse until the mixture is completely dry.
  5. In a saucepan, boil 2 glasses of water, toss the chopped garlic, remove from heat and put on the table. Add 1 tsp. soda, and immediately cover the sheets and breathe over the saucepan.
  6. Eucalyptus leaves pour boiled water. Then construct a funnel, breathe in pairs for up to 20 minutes. Inhalation with thyme and coltsfoot also helps, you can put soda and drip eucalyptus oil.
  7. The best cure for dry cough is coltsfoot. To prepare the decoction, you need to pour the leaves with a glass of water. Insist an hour, use up to three times a day.
  8. Inhalation with oils of lavender, mint, eucalyptus, cedar. It is necessary to add 2-3 drops of any oil to 500 g of boiling water and breathe over the steam. Immediately, expectoration of sputum begins.

A dry cough in adults always has a specific cause. Therefore, it is very important to conduct a thorough preliminary examination, according to the results of which adequate treatment will be prescribed.

Watch the video: Chronic Cough Treatment for Children - Mindy Ross, MD. UCLA Mattel Children's Hospital (November 2019).

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