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5 Things You Need to Know About a Dry Cough

By Livestrong Contributor ; Updated August 14, 2017

It's not a dry Cough, It's Just Unproductive

A dry cough is an unproductive cough. That means it does not produce any mucus or phlegm. Dry cough can occur from a myriad of things, including lung disease, viral illnesses, certain medications and smoking.

Make Sure it's not Whooping Cough

Children receive a pertussis immunization against whooping cough. However, whooping cough is making a comeback. It usually follows a cold and signs of whopping cough are a dry hacking cough that becomes uncontrollable. Airways narrow by inflammation, making breathing difficult. The only way to know for sure if a dry cough is the onset of whooping cough is to have a lab test done. Because the test for whooping cough takes between 10 days and two weeks, a doctor may start a patient on medication if he suspects it is whooping cough.

Banish dry Cough With Improved Indoor air Quality

Poor indoor air quality can lead to dry cough, especially if there are smokers in the house. Have your furnace and heating vents cleaned once a year, to make sure it is running efficiently and not harboring dust that can lead to dry cough. Deep clean carpets, drapes and upholstery twice a year to get rid of dust and dander build up and improve indoor air quality. Keep a humidifier running the winter, to keep moisture in the air.

Allergies can Bring on dry Cough

Pet dander, pollen and any other allergies can increase dry cough. If you suffer from seasonal allergies in the spring and summer, keep the windows closed and use an air conditioner. Also, shower and change your clothes when you come inside. For indoor allergies, cover your mattress and pillows with dust mite covers, vacuum regularly and stay away from first hand or second hand cigarette smoke.

Time to see the Doctor if the dry Cough Won't go Away

If a dry cough persists more than 10 days, you should bite the bullet and go see a doctor. If an infant (less than three months old) has a dry cough at all, you should bring them to the doctor right away. More seriously, if you have been exposed to someone with tuberculosis, you should see a doctor (even if you don't have a dry cough). You should also see a doctor soon if your dry cough starts producing blood.

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