Topic Overview

Dry coughs that continue after other cold symptoms clear or that
occur without other symptoms may be caused by a variety of health

Some people start coughing when they breathe very dry, heated air.
This can be caused by environmental irritation or allergies. This type of cough
may be more noticeable when you first turn on your furnace in the fall, because
dust and other irritants that have collected over the summer are blown into the

Chronic dry coughs are usually caused by irritation from cigarette
smoke, environmental irritants, allergies, postnasal drip, or asthma. Several
chronic lung diseases also cause a dry, hacking cough. Some people cough out of
habit for no clear reason.

Gastric reflux may also cause a chronic dry cough.
Usually you will also have other symptoms, such as heartburn, burning in the
throat, or increased saliva.

Less common causes of a dry cough include:

A doctor can evaluate your symptoms and recommend
appropriate treatment.


ByHealthwise Staff
Primary Medical Reviewer E. Gregory Thompson, MD – Internal Medicine
Specialist Medical Reviewer Adam Husney, MD – Family Medicine

Current as ofMarch 25, 2017