Dry Cough Remedy



12 Tips to get rid of that nagging dry cough!

A relentless dry tickly cough is best treated by a cough suppressant. There are many cough remedies that claim to get rid of that nagging dry cough. So many, in fact, that it’s difficult to know which cough remedy claim to believe and which one will work for you!

Whether you’re suffering from a constant dry cough or from a dry cough attack that hits without warning, when you’re coughing relentlessly, you need a dry cough remedy that works and a dry cough remedy that works fast!

The information contained on this website is provided solely as cough remedy tips for common cough symptoms.  For chronic or persistent coughing that continues or worsens over time we recommend a visit to the doctor to rule out other potentially serious causes of cough.

Dry Cough Causes

What Is A Dry Cough?
A dry cough is a tickly, irritating cough that occurs when the respiratory tract is not producing a buildup of phlegm; therefore, it does not result in the expulsion of phlegm and is referred to as a dry cough.  This type of cough is called a non-productive cough and does not contribute to the healing process of the respiratory tract by expelling phlegm, which is what occurs when you have a chesty, productive cough.

A dry non-productive cough is commonly brought on by a viral infection such as the common cold or flu.  These dry cough symptoms will often continue long after the initial cold or virus is gone, including increased coughing at night as well as sudden cough attacks.

Dry non-productive coughs from viral infections may also be a cough symptom in the initial phase when stubborn, viscous phlegm is present but has not yet loosened up.  As this stubborn phlegm begins to loosen up the cough will then progress into a productive, wet cough which will then expel the sputum.


What Causes A Dry Cough?
Dry cough is most frequently thought of as the dry, hacking cough that typically develops as a result of a cold or flu bug.  The list below includes the most common causes of dry cough.

  • Common Cold or Flu
  • Bronchitis
  • Laryngitis
  • Asthma
  • Allergies
  • Post Nasal Drip
  • Smoking
  • Environmental factors, such as weather, pollutants in the air, dry air, air conditioning, etc.
  • Certain medications, such as ACE inhibitors and blood pressure medications
  • Underlying medical conditions, such as GERD, COPD, emphysema, heart related problems, lung cancer


Suggested Dry Cough Treatments

For Dry Cough Use A Cough Suppressant OR
a Combination Cough Suppressant/Expectorant

Tip #1

Use A Cough Suppressant For A Dry Cough
Dry cough is best treated by a cough suppressant, also referred to as an antitussive, in order to calm and quiet the cough.


Tip #2

Use A Combination Cough Suppressant/Expectorant For Viscous Dry Cough
The best course of action for a viscous dry cough, resulting from stubborn phlegm that has not yet loosened up, is to utilize a combination cough suppressant and cough expectorant.  There are many remedies that serve this dual purpose, both natural remedies and over the counter remedies.



Over The Counter (OTC) Dry Cough Remedies

A great array of over the counter cough medications are available in stores everywhere. These medicines are safe to use and can provide cough relief; however, it is important to follow the instructions on the label.  While safe to use, overuse, misuse, and abuse of OTC cough medicines can occur and can be dangerous.

Currently the majority of medical professionals do not recommend the use of OTC cough medications for children under the age of two and according to Dr. Jay L. Hoecker, M.D., of the Mayo Clinic, studies are being conducted regarding use of OTC medications for older children as well.  Seek your pediatrician’s advice regarding which treatment is recommended for your child’s cough.

Tip #3

Cough Drops
There are a wide variety of quality cough drops available in stores.  Halls cough drops are one of the most effective and popular cough drops on the market and give immediate relief.  Cough drops are also available in sugar free formulas.

Tip #4

Vicks VapoRub
Vicks VapoRub (for adults and children over two years of age) has been around since the 1890’s and has proven its effectiveness over the test of time.  For years people have found quick cough relief by rubbing Vicks on the chest, back, and neck areas.

A brief video on our Cough Remedy Tips page demonstrates a popular cough remedy treatment that many people are finding provides excellent relief from night time dry cough. This effective method calls for simply applying a generous amount of VapoRub to the bottom of your feet and wearing socks overnight as you sleep.

Tip #5

Vicks BabyRub
Vicks BabyRub is a gentle formula containing eucalyptus, rosemary, lavender, and aloe vera, and is safe for baby’s skin.  Gently rub on the baby’s (3 months and older) chest, neck, and back to soothe their cough.  Many babies pull their socks off and put their feet in their mouths so keep that in mind if you’re considering the method above of VapoRub on the feet as this product is for external purposes only and must not be ingested.

One other mention about the use of VapoRub with a vaporizer: Carefully follow Vicks’ instructions and place the VapoRub in the medicine dispenser of the vaporizer or humidifier and DO NOT add it directly to the water.  Doing so creates excessive vapors to fill the room causing burning, irritation to the eyes.

Tip #6

Cough Syrup
Most over the counter cough syrups contain dextromethorphan, an ingredient that blocks the cough reflex trigger in the brain providing temporary relief from dry cough.

Delsym is a cough suppressant syrup that is highly recommended cough by many doctors. Ask your local pharmacist for his or her recommendation for a quality cough suppressant syrup.

Tip #7

Night Time Cough Formulas
Lack of sleep from a nagging dry cough is a problem many people experience.  There are a number of safe and effective night time cough formulas on the market that, when used properly, will calm your cough and help you sleep at night.

There are rising reports however, of misuse and abuse of this type of OTC medication that can lead to addiction.  We recommend using caution if you use this type of medication and would encourage that you first try natural cough remedies.



Home Remedies For Dry Cough

Natural home remedies to suppress a dry cough are an excellent way to go.  There are many natural sources that by nature suppress dry coughing and are often even more effective than over the counter medications.

Check out the home cough suppressant remedies in the following video and in Tips #8 – #12  that many have found to provide the relief they needed when suffering from an irritating dry cough.

Also find an excellent selection of Cough Suppressant and Combination Suppressant/Expectorant Home Remedies on our Home Remedies For Cough page.



Tip #8

Getting plenty of rest is an important factor in helping your body to facilitate the  natural healing process.


Tip #9

Steam from Shower, Humidifier, or Vaporizer
Use of a vaporizer, humidifier, or steam treatment is extremely helpful in treating a dry cough.

Use steam — whether it’s steam from the shower in the bathroom, a humidifier, or vaporizer, cool mist or warm mist, — steam provides soothing moisture to your airway passages bringing relief to dry nagging coughs.


Tip #10

Honey is a sweet remedy for a dry cough and is good for both adults and children over the age of one year old.  Honey is one of the most effective cough remedies you can use, even out performing the OTC medications.  Add honey to hot tea or warm milk for a warm, soothing beverage that will help quiet your cough.  Or you can create your own freshly made honey cough syrup by mixing equal parts of honey and lemon juice or lime juice.


Tip #11

Dark Chocolate
Dark chocolate is a natural cough suppressant and also provides better results in treating a dry cough than the OTC remedies, even better than medications with codeine.  Two ounces of quality dark chocolate gives approximately 4 hours of relief from dry coughing by calming the nerve that is responsible for coughing.


Tip #12

Homemade Cough Suppressant Recipes
For homemade cough suppressant recipes to help soothe a dry cough, browse through our Cough Suppressant Remedies section located on the Home Remedies For Cough page.

Scroll to Top



Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: Dry Cough Treatment

Mayo Clinic

16 Responses to “Dry Cough Remedy”

  1. Frank B. says:

    This dry cough is driving me crazy! Help!

    • Lee says:

      Remember that water is a natural expectorant so drink as much as you can — it will help loosen that cough up. Check out some of the other dry cough remedies on this site too. I’m sure you’ll find some remedies that will give you some relief. If the cough doesn’t get any better after 2 or 3 weeks you should check with your doctor.

  2. Joel Leighton says:

    Out of desperation, I tried that Vicks on the feet remedy last night. I thought it sounded kind of dumb, but it actually helped and it kept my feet warm too. Thanks.

  3. Jeannie J. says:

    Does Vitamin C help for dry cough?

    • Lee says:

      Vitamin C is good to take everyday and when you’re sick it’s a good idea to increase the amount you take each day. A few other supplements good for a cough are Vitamin D, Vitamin A, Iron, and Zinc.

  4. Shirley G. says:

    Thank you so much for so much helpful information on this website. I’ve been suffering with a dry cough and I found several remedies here that I’m going to try out.

  5. Jim says:

    Dry cough is the worst!

  6. Ruth V. says:

    I had a cold and cough over a month ago. I feel completely fine now except that once in a while I get random cough attacks, usually when I’m at the store. Why? and when will this stop?

    • Lee says:

      Unfortunately, sometimes a viral infection can stay in your respiratory tract for 6 to 12 weeks after a cold, even though you’re feeling better. You’re not alone as many people suffer from sudden cough attacks just as you have described. Most likely the dry air in the stores is a trigger for that dry cough attack. Hang in there and keep those cough drops handy!

  7. Laura Kirby says:

    Just got home from work after having that annoying, nagging dry tickle cough all day. Sitting here now with the vaporizer and wanted to tell you I just read on your webpage about dark chocolate being a cough suppressant — never heard that one before! So now I’m enjoying a perfect chocolate treat at the end of my day and guilt-free because it’s my “medicine.” It actually helped sooth my cough some too.

  8. Brandon Jefferson says:

    Dry cough always seems worse at night. There’s a lot of information here, what would you suggest I try first to get some relief?

    • Lee says:

      I’d start by drinking lots of fluids. Get moisture in the air with steam in the shower or a humidifier or vaporizer. Cough remedies with honey. Cough drops. And if you’re not sleeping well, you may want to consider an OTC product like Nyquil so you can get some rest.

Leave a Reply

You must be Logged in to post comment.

© 2012 . All rights reserved.