Cough is body’s way of clearing the airway which gets affected with irritants and mucous. Cough or chronic cough can be a symptom to many underlying diseases. There are two categories of cough namely productive and non-productive.
A productive cough generates phlegm or mucus. They are produced from the lungs. A non-productive cough commonly known as dry cough do not produce phlegm or mucous. Dry cough can be generated due to various causes. Regardless of the reason, if not taken care, it can affect the day to day routine.
What are the causes of Dry Cough?
Asthma is considered as the main cause of dry cough. The disease is characterised with inflammation and narrowing of the airways in the lungs which results in reduced oxygen supply. In Asthma affected individuals most common symptom is cough which aggravates at night or early morning.
Other common presentations include wheezing, shortness of the breath, chest pain or tightness in the chest region
- Idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis
Idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis (IPF) affects the lungs. Here in this condition a scar tissue develops inside the individual’s lungs. When the scar tissue thickens, this affects the breathing pattern. The exact cause of the disease is unknown.
Most persistent symptom of IPF is dry cough. Other symptoms include shortness of breath, fatigue, loss of appetite which leads to weight loss and clubbing of the nails.
- Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD)
In acid reflux disease there will be a back flow of gastric juices bact]k to the oesophagus. Dry cough is a common symptom persistent among 40% of the population. Other symptoms of GERD are heart burn, nausea, vomiting, bad breath, difficulty in swallowing.
- Upper respiratory infections
Upper respiratory infections including common cold and flu and result in acute cough. The cough may be either productive or non-productive,
Other symptoms are running nose, fever, sore throat, headache, muscle aches
- Postnasal drip
Post nasal drip happens when the mucous from the nose and sinuses reach down to the throat. This can trigger cough. Although the cough is production in rare cases it comes without phlegm also. Post nasal drip happens due to nasal allergies.
Sore throat, running nose, swallowing issues are the other symptoms associated with post nasal drip
Other common causes include allergies, viral infections, cigarette smoking, Lung cancer, and exposure to dust or irritating chemicals continuously.
Ayurvedic approach to dry cough
Acharya Charaka says, the vayu get obstructed in the kanda (throat) and results in abnormal sounds. Due to the causes, there will be vitiation of Prana and Udana vayu, which leads to upward movement and get filled in the channels that are present in the shiras (head), ura (chest) and greeva pradesha (neck region). This results in increased pressure inside the channels of nose, ear, and throat and results in cough.
Home Remedies for Dry Cough
- Turmeric with Milk – Boil the milk and add a pinch of turmeric and consume. This heals and soothes the throat.
- Gargling – Gargling with boiled ginger water with a tip of rock salt helps to better the dry cough
- Clove buds – Chew clove buds or try to retain in the mouth. This helps in controlling dry cough.
- Cinnamon-Mulethi mix – mix 1/4tsp of cinnamon powder and mulethi with honey and consume twice daily.
Ginger tea – Tea prepared with ginger helps to improve cough.