What is the Best Treatment for a Dry Cough?

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  • Written By: B. Miller
  • Edited By: Andrew Jones
  • Last Modified Date: 09 February 2019
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The best treatment for a dry cough is to first attempt to identify the cause of the cough; for instance, try to find out if it is due to allergies, dry air at home or work, or lifestyle habits such as smoking. Sometimes, a dry cough simply lingers after a cold as well. If possible, it is best to try to eliminate the cause of the cough; then, the best treatment is often to stay hydrated by drinking hot tea with lemon, or to eliminate a tickle in the throat by gargling warm salt water. Cough drops and cough suppressant medications can also work in the short term.

If the cough is due to allergies, the best treatment for a dry cough might be to take allergy medication. There are options available over the counter or with a prescription from a medical professional. Some people find that using a warm saline rinse in the nasal passages can help to alleviate allergies, which may help to cure a persistent dry cough as well. A dry cough may also be caused by smoking. The only treatment for this type of cough is to quit smoking.


Dry or dusty air at home or in the workplace is another leading cause of a persistent dry cough. There is not much to be done about the air quality at work, but at home, a humidifier that is left to run all the time, or even just at night can help to add extra moisture to the air. This extra moisture can be an effective treatment for a dry cough. An air purifier might be added to the home as well, if allergens or dust in the environment are a problem. At work, it can be helpful to simply stay hydrated all day by drinking lots of water or tea.

The best thing to do is to prevent the throat from becoming dry. Some people find that drinking hot tea that contains honey and/or lemon can help to soothe the throat and relieve a dry cough. Honey should never be given to children under one year of age, however. Gargling with salt water can also add moisture to the throat, and help one to stop coughing. Sleeping with the head elevated at night can be a helpful treatment for a cough, and can also help to prevent heartburn, which can also cause coughing.


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Post 7

I have a severe cough from dust or smoke, etc. It starts with a weird tickling in my throat, then coughing and vomiting. I tried a lot of allergy pills but non of them seem to help. It's been over a year. Help. What can it be?

Post 6

I am a beekeeper and know how helpful honey is for all kinds of ailments, and a dry cough is certainly one of them.

It is not uncommon for my husband and I to take a teaspoon full of honey a couple times a day if we feel like our throat is dry or sore. We always have a bottle of our honey sitting on the counter, so this is easy for us to do.

I am not a big tea drinker, but a cup of hot water with some honey and a little bit of lemon does wonders for me if I have a dry cough.

The first time I tried this I didn't think it sounded very good, but when I have a cough, that is what I now crave as the hot water and honey feel so soothing for a dry cough.

Post 5

@SkyWhisperer - Yes, I agree, physicians focus on symptoms and not causes. They are not trained to do so. It’s always so much easier to prescribe a pill.

There are, however, natural remedies for a lot of ills that plague us I believe, if we understand what the real source of the problem is.

Take treatment for bronchitis as an example. You can take pills, or you can find some natural remedies. One of those remedies is Haarlem oil, which has been shown to be effective in the treatment of bronchitis.

It soothes the passageways and helps to break up the mucous as well. It’s been proven effective and is definitely worth a try, I think. Of course, I would do this only after dealing with environmental remedies like you said, and if those remedies alone did not work.

Post 4

My dad used to have a chronic dry cough condition. He went to the doctor and they gave him every kind of drug imaginable, and the condition only got worse.

Realizing that the medical profession had failed him – they treat the symptom and not the cause – he went about finding out what the cause was. He noticed that the cough did not come when he was away from home traveling or things like that.

So he figured that there was something at home that was bringing it on. After some investigation, he suspected the carpet. He mentioned that to the doctor but he only dismissed the idea.

Well, my dad had nothing to lose in either case, so he had the carpet in the condominium removed and replaced with laminate tile. Sure enough, that did the trick – no more dry cough! We were all relieved, but certainly not more than he was.

Post 3

@lonelygod - I also have asthma, but besides a dry cough I have been interested in finding home remedies for bronchitis. I always seem to get sick every few months and it can be a real plan killer.

While my natural cures for bronchitis do work really well for me, you may find they are helpful for your dry cough.

What I do to get my coughing to stop is by drinking a hot toddy. I usually make tea and add honey, whiskey and a little butter to it. It may not sound that tasty, but it really works on your throat. I find my cough usually quits within an hour of drinking my mix and I can sleep well.

Post 2

I always get a really bad dry cough during the wintertime due to my asthma. For some reason my asthma just doesn't like the air thrown by the central heater.

Does anyone have any good asthma home remedies that might be able to help me with my dry cough?

I have been looking for a home remedy for asthma for awhile now and have already tried a few things to stop my dry cough. I have taken to using a humidifier to make my home less dry, and I have also switched to all hypoallergenic materials in my bedroom, plus the family pets aren't allowed in my room. These things help a bit, but the cough is so persistent.

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