Cough and cold can be irritating at times; especially the dry coughs that persist for long can sometimes make you worry. There are various causes for persistent cough, various underlying medical conditions may lead to the non productive coughs or the dry coughs that stay for long. This article will reflect on some of the most important causes for persistent cough and also about the ways to get rid of it. Hope this would be a beneficial read for you if you have been looking for some information on the same.

What Causes Persistent Cough?

Overview on Persistent Cough:

Dry coughs are different from the productive coughs or the chesty coughs where mucus is produced. Dry coughs are regarded as the non-productive coughs and most often are the result of cold and flu infections. There are also other factors contributing to such dry coughs which include atmospheric pollutants, like cigarette smoke which irritate you throat. Sometimes recovery from dry coughs may take longer and these dry coughs when become persistent for long are known as persistent coughs. Persistent coughs may remain for more than 3 weeks and may be associated with various other medical conditions which must be diagnosed and treated in an appropriate manner.

We will know about the causes and ways to get rid of the persistent cough in the following arrays of our article.

What Causes Persistent Cough?

Common causes of dry coughs include the viral infections, allergies, environmental pollutants, acid reflux, side effects of certain medications like those which are taken for high blood pressure, and also some psychological conditions. Some people also get dry coughs due to anxiety or stress; and they cough when they are in a stressful situation or feel anxious.

However as mentioned earlier that a dry cough that remains for more than 3 weeks may be termed as persistent cough and there are various underlying causes for persistent cough. Below are some of them.

  • Asthma as a Cause for Persistent Cough: One of the major causes for persistent cough can be asthma. This is a recurring disease which causes the airways to get inflamed and blocked partially in the affected individuals.
  • Lung Problems and Cancer Can Cause Persistent Cough: A particular lung issue, including lung cancer can also be associated with persistent cough in many people.
  • Heart Disease as a Cause for Persistent Cough: Heart disease is regarded as one of the most common causes of ill health in the Western countries. There may be heart failure because of the heart issues. Apart from this, there may be a build up of fluid in the lungs and development of persistent cough, especially during night because of heart problems.
  • Persistent Cough Caused Due to Tuberculosis: TB is a seriously infectious bacterial disease affecting primarily the lungs. In the early stages, it leads to a persistent dry cough. Tuberculosis was once thought to have become extinct throughout the world, but recently TB cases have increased because of a combination of lowered immune resistance and drug resistance in individuals.
  • Whooping Cough: Whooping cough is a bacterial disease that is caused by Bordetella pertussis and characterised by bouts of coughing followed by gasping of air in a distinctive whoop sound. This can lead to persistent dry cough.

How to Get Rid of Persistent Cough?

Now that we are known to some of the underlying causes of persistent cough, it is time to know about the ways to get rid of it. So, here we shall take a look on some ways of diagnosis and medical treatments along with the effective home remedies for persistent cough. Hope this would prove beneficial for you.

Diagnosis and Medical Treatments to Get Rid of Persistent Cough:

Diagnosis of Persistent Cough:

Diagnosis for persistent cough at doctor's cabin usually begins with the physical examination where the doctor may listen to your chest sounds so as to check for any congestion, check your throat for any inflammation or any infection. Your doctor may also ask you some general questions to know about your symptoms and difficulties you are experiencing.

In some cases your doctor may require you to go for a check X- ray so as to be sure that there is no underlying cause for the persistent cough you are experiencing.

Medical Treatments to Get Rid of Persistent Cough:

The main motive of treating persistent cough is to get rid of it completely by finding out the root cause and getting rid of the underlying medical condition causing the cough. However, OTC medications can be given for relieving some symptoms in persistent cough. There are OTC cough syrups specifically formulated for the dry coughs that linger for some days. In case the condition of the patient worsens, he or she may be requiring a nebulizer where the patient would be able to breathe easily by dilating the bronchioles.

However in case of persistent cough, one can go for some of the effective home remedies for better relief. We will know about the remedies in our following section here.

Home Remedies to Get Rid of Persistent Cough:

Here are some of the best home remedies for persistent cough you can try out to get rid of the same.

  1. Licorice root is one of the most popular home remedy to get rid of persistent cough. It is an expectorant and a demulcent and helps in soothing the airways while loosening and thinning up the mucous and thus easing congestion. Licorice root can also help you ease the inflammation that may be irritating the throat. Glycyrrhizin is its main constituent which is mostly responsible for its positive effects. To prepare this licorice root tea you need to take 2 tablespoon of dried licorice root and 8 ounces of fresh clean water and boil it take at least 2 times in a day.
  2. Honey. Being a rich demulcent, with high viscosity and stickiness, honey can help you get rid of persistent cough by coating and soothing the irritated mucous membranes. You can take raw honey for effective results. However kids under 2 years of age must not be given honey.
  3. Steam inhalation works best as an excellent home remedy to get rid of persistent cough.
  4. Thyme tea is also used to get rid of persistent cough. This is a home remedy practiced since ages. Thyme relaxes the muscles of the trachea and the bronchi and also opens up the airways.
  5. Salt water gargling can get rid of persistent cough to some good extent. This is in fact a popular remedy for sore throat and can ease the condition caused by persistent cough. Ginger works as an excellent expectorant, helps in soothing and stops the painful tickle at the back of the throat due to continuous cough, especially the dry cough.
  6. Peppermint will also aid you in relieving the irritating tickle of persistent cough. So, making a syrup out of 3 tablespoons of chopped ginger, one tablespoon of dried peppermint, four cups of water and one cup of honey can be a wonderful home remedy to get rid of persistent cough.
  7. Black pepper with honey can also be used in getting rid of persistent cough. Black pepper and honey together can help you reduce chest congestion. You need to add one teaspoon of freshly ground black pepper in one tablespoon of honey and 8 ounces of water and allow it to boil while stirring it, at least for 10 minutes to drink the resultant at least 2 times a day.

Some Tips to Get Rid of Persistent Cough:

Apart from the above mentioned ways to get rid of persistent cough, there are some special tips to be followed for getting rid of the cough. Below are some of them:

  • Drink warm tea with honey and soothe your throat in case you have persistent cough
  • Try out a menthol cough drop that would numb the back of your throat and will tend to reduce the cough reflux.
  • Keep yourself hydrated in case you have persistent cough. This would keep the mucus membrane moist.
  • Use a humidifier to get effective relief.
  • Go for a hot shower which can help you get rid of the persistent cough by loosening the secretions in the nose.
  • Hot chicken soup or vegetable soup can also be effective in providing relief from persistent cough.

Though you can try out the above mentioned home remedies for relieving the symptoms of persistent cough, make sure you are reaching an expert medical professional in case you are experiencing persistent cough and get yourself properly diagnosed so as to treat the underlying causes of the cough.

Written, Edited or Reviewed By:

, MD, FFARCSI

Last Modified On: May 25, 2016

Pain Assist Inc.

Pramod Kerkar
  Note: Information provided is not a substitute for physician, hospital or any form of medical care. Examination and Investigation is necessary for correct diagnosis.

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