A cough is a natural response by the body or the respiratory system of the body to expel the irritant substance that is obstructing the air passage, and interferes in breathing mechanism. While cough is just a symptom the real cause for it is an underlying lung disease, or irritation of the respiratory tract.
What are the Causes of Dry Hacking Cough
There are two types of cough; productive and dry.
Productive Cough: in this type of cough there is expectoration or discharge of mucus or sputum. It is also called wet cough.
Dry Cough: in dry cough there is no discharge or expectoration of sputum. Generally a dry hacking cough can cause lot of distress and agony for the patient. It interferes in his daily activities due to shortness of breath as well as occasional chest pain. Persistent harsh, hoarse and dry cough can irritate the throat, leading to sore throat. Frequently women complain of involuntary dribbling of urine with a bout of dry cough, this is mainly attributed to the abdominal pressure due to cough and anatomical position of the urethra or the urinary passage in women.
There are several causes for dry hacking cough. While taking medical history, the physician always asks the patient whether the cough is dry or there is expectoration. This helps him in diagnosing the causes for dry cough. Following are most common causes for dry cough.
- Upper Respiratory Tract Infection: dry hacking cough is common symptom in later stage of common cold. The post nasal drip irritates the larynx which results in dry coughing. A person may experience dry and barking cough for few days or a week after the viral cold has cleared up.
- Cigarette smoking is one of the leading causes for dry cough. The inhaled smoke is responsible for irritating the respiratory tract to produce hacking cough.
- Tuberculosis: though not so common disease in developed countries, tuberculosis is still a life threatening disease in developing states. During the initial stage of tuberculosis, the person experiences debilitating dry cough with occasional blood tinged sputum.
- Tropical Eosinophilia: persistent recurrent bouts of dry cough aggravated at night, with mild fever, weakness etc. Filariasis and intestine worms such as round worm or hook worm are common causes for tropical eosinophilia.
- Lung Cancer: blood tinged sputum, persistent dry cough, history of smoking, weight loss, and age above 50 years are indicative features for the dreaded disease.
- Asthma: in asthma there is breathlessness associated with wheezing and dry cough.
- Allergy from dust, industrial chemical fumes.
- Whooping cough, laryngeal infection or tumor can produce brassy or metallic sound with a dry cough. It can also occur in aneurism of aorta though a rare entity.
Dry Hacking Cough Treatment and Remedies
- To find instant relief from irritating dry cough, drink warm water or warm soup. It is the best home remedy known to mankind since olden days.
- Salt water gargling: salt is a common kitchen ingredient, mix a pinch of salt in a glass of lukewarm water and gargle it three to four times in a day. It not only alleviates dry cough but also soothes the sore throat resulting from constant coughing.
- Boil few basil leaves in a cup of water. Strain the liquid and add 2 tsp of honey. Now sip it slowly. Basil leaves and honey act upon the mucus lining of the throat and soothe the air passages. You can also chew few basil leaves instead of boiling for instant stoppage of dry and hacking cough.
- Use a humidifier in your bedroom it helps to relieve dry hacking cough caused due to dry weather.
- Cinnamon is a common home remedy which has gained popularity due to its effective natural ability in treating dry barking cough. Add few cinnamon pieces in your tea and sip it slowly. Green tea and cinnamon both with act upon the respiratory system and prevent persistent dry cough.