For a dry cough and fever of over 102 degrees Fahrenheit (38.9 degrees Celsius), it's usually best to consult a doctor. Your physician may help determine if the fever is due to a bacterial infection which may require prescription medication. If a viral infection is suspected, acetaminophen or ibuprofen may be recommended to help lower your temperature. A dry cough that prevents you from sleeping may be relieved by over-the-counter cough medications, and by drinking warm liquids such as tea with honey and lemon. Using a humidifier or inhaling steam may help relieve cough symptoms, as well as symptoms of croup in young children.
There are a few methods you may try to relieve dry coughing and mild to moderate fever. Staying hydrated may help, as drinking plenty of liquids may loosen bronchial secretions and help regulate your body temperature. Drink plenty of water, juice, broth and warm tea to soothe your throat and calm your cough. You may also use a cool mist humidifier, especially at nighttime. The moisture and steam may break up chest congestion and relieve coughing. If you don't have a humidifier, run a steamy shower or inhale steam from a pot of boiling water.
Before trying over-the-counter medications for relieving dry cough and fever, you might want to ask a pharmacist about possible interactions with other medications you're taking. While many cold preparations treat multi-symptoms, choose something that treats your symptoms only, so you don't consume drugs you may not need. Consider taking a fever reducer and cough suppressant if dry coughing makes it difficult to sleep, but avoid decongestants which may make you restless.
A dry cough and fever that is accompanied by chest pain or vomiting may be serious. In this case, it may be best to see your physician for a proper diagnosis. High fever, severe throat pain and difficulty swallowing may indicate strep throat, a condition that often requires prescription antibiotics. When left untreated, strep throat may lead to serious complications. A throat culture may be recommended if your physician suspects you have a strep infection, and this simple procedure may be done in his office.
An infant or toddler may experience a dry cough and fever due to a viral infection. Some children develop croup, a condition that often causes a hacking cough and wheezing. Symptoms of croup may be relieved by the use of a humidifier or vaporizer, or by having the child sit in a steam-filled bathroom for several minutes. At the pediatrician's suggestion, a children's fever reducer may also be used.