A dry cough is one that does not produce phlegm or sputum. It can be caused by an inflammation, such as post nasal drip or irritants to the airways such as strong smells, cigarette smoke, or even a change in air temperature especially if mouth-breathing.
If you have a productive cough (which does produce phlegm or sputum), click here.
It is important that you discuss any cough symptoms with your doctor or nurse. They may want to examine your mouth or your chest to exclude oral infections such as thrush.
If you are a Hospiscare patient, your nurse may advise a morphine-based medicine which your doctor may prescribe.
Coughing may need to be suppressed if the cough is dry and irritates the airways, if it brings on a severe fit of coughing, or if it causes distress. Here are a few suggestions that may help you to stop coughing.
Your pelvic floor can be strained by excessive coughing. Each cough is like a bounce on the pelvic floor muscles, which form a sling between the base of the spine and the front of the pelvic girdle. Strengthening your pelvic floor muscles helps prevent leaking and embarrassment.
Feet slightly apart, close back passage and tighten front passages, drawing them up inside. Hold for a count of four. Let go slowly. Do not hold your breath and avoid tightening your buttocks and tummy muscles.
Practise little and often, in different positions, e.g. lying with knees up, sitting, standing. Practise when on the telephone, at the sink, waiting for the kettle to boil, at the bus stop or train station, in the supermarket queue, or even during the adverts on TV. In other words, anywhere, anytime!