Synonyms in a broader sense

Throat irritation, tussis, irritable cough
engl .: to cough

Dry tickly cough

The dry, irritating cough is characterized by the fact that the patient does not convey any mucus out of the lungs when coughing (unproductive cough). The cough sounds much harder than the productive cough and is also perceived as more painful by the patient. The causes of irritable cough are irritation and inflammation of the lower respiratory tract, e.g. from foreign bodies that have been inhaled (especially in children) and by tumors (e.g. Bronchial carcinoma). Pollutants such as Dust, gases or chemical vapors can lead to dry, irritating coughs.

In addition to lower airway inflammation, some upper airway diseases can also trigger dry, tickly coughs. At a Laryngitis (laryngitis), Inflammation of the windpipe (Tracheitis) and Inflammation of the bronchial mucosa (bronchitis) dry, irritating cough can also occur.

Also irritation of the nasal mucosa, des Throat, the ear canals and the paranasal sinuses can lead to a dry, irritating cough. This is especially found in patients with a very sensitive Vagus nervewhich can temporarily reflect irritation in tissues distant from the lungs as a cough. Typical is e.g. also in some patients the coughing after eating ice cream, which is also caused by this effect. Some drugs, such as the so-called ACE inhibitors In addition to the intended effect of lowering blood pressure, they also cause a dry cough.
Even with drugs that contain the active ingredient acetylcysteic acid (aspirin) can trigger dry, tickly coughs.

In the case of cough caused by medication, consideration must be given to changing or discontinuing the corresponding medication. It can also happen that smaller Pulmonary embolism or a so-called Pneumothorax, in which the lungs from Rib cage loosens and puffs up causing dry, irritating cough as the only symptom. Because of this, this symptom must definitely be followed up whenever the cause of the cough is unknown. In the classic image of the bronchial asthma it also comes among other things for dry, irritating cough.

Nocturnal irritable cough

Dry cough can disrupt the night's sleep to a great extent. It takes much longer to fall asleep because the dry itching in the throat repeatedly leads to coughing attacks. Or you wake up at night because you have a cough attack. In general, there are simple tricks that can remedy the dry cough and are described under “Dry cough home remedies”.

Before going to bed, a glass of hot milk with honey soothes the irritated mucous membrane of the respiratory tract and makes it easier to fall asleep. Children under one year of age should not yet eat honey; the milk can then be drunk without honey. If you don't like milk, grab a cup of fresh mallow or marshmallow tea before you go to bed.

Read more on this topic at: Scratchy throat

Other tricks can improve the dry cough during the night to such an extent that a relatively restful sleep is possible. Warm and dry indoor air is a common cause of dry coughs and should therefore be avoided. Ventilating well before going to bed, a humidifier or simply a damp towel on the heater and a room temperature of around 18 ° Celsius can help.

It is also advisable to sleep with the upper body raised, as a raised upper body makes breathing much easier and thus prevents coughing attacks.

If the home remedies fail, an antitussive drug can be purchased without a prescription from the pharmacy.

Nocturnal irritable cough can also be the symptom of another illness and should be clarified by a doctor if it lasts longer.

Also read the article: The night cough.

Dry cough after a cold

Just after one cold, by Viruses It is quite common that the dry cough has been triggered without ejection yet several weeks persists.

With an acute infection of the upper respiratory tract, to them nose, mouth and throat count, the mucous membrane of the affected areas is irritated, it is therefore inflamed and reddened. The result is a dry, tickly cough.

If the lower respiratory tract it comes to one more often mucous coughbecause the pathogens have to be transported from the bottom up to find their way out of the body.

Is the cold or the bronchitis over, but in many cases a persistent dry, dry cough, which can be traced back to still irritated mucous membranes, persists. To remedy the situation Cough lozengesthat keep the mucous membrane moist or Inhalations with hot steam or Emser salts.

If the dry, irritating cough persists for several weeks after a cold without any improvement, the doctor should clarify whether the cause of the irritating cough is other than the common cold.

Dry cough from an allergy

One by one allergy Triggered dry cough is to be assumed if in addition to the dry cough within a short time Wheals on the body occur that nose runs and the Eyes water. In the worst case, the allergic reaction can lead to threatening shortness of breath if the airways cramp.

This is important in the case of an allergy Administration of antihistamine preparationsthat displace histamine from the histamine receptor. Histamine is one of the main messenger substances in the allergic reaction. Dry cough is often caused by Food allergies, Allergies to House dust mites, pet dander or mold as well as by allergic asthma triggered. The dry cough is particularly bad when the patient is exposed to the substance to which he is allergic.

The dry cough already described above through ACE inhibitors is a pseudo-allergic reaction that is not mediated by histamine but by other messenger substances.

Dry cough during pregnancy and breastfeeding

Many pregnant women take extra care when it comes to taking medication during pregnancy for good reason.
Well-tried home remedies for dry coughs do not pose a problem during pregnancy either: Pregnant women should wrap their necks warm, use warm chest compresses and inhale several times a day in order to keep the irritated mucous membranes as moist as possible.

More information can be found here: Chest wrap

Marshmallow and thyme provide a remedy, they can be taken as tea or as lozenges. The usual amounts do not harm the unborn child. A hot lemon or a glass of hot milk with honey are also completely harmless.
However, cough suppressants should only be taken after consulting a doctor. The intake should be cautious and only for a short time.

The worry that the unborn child will be shaken by the constant coughing is unfounded. The amniotic fluid absorbs the coughs and significantly softens the movements.

For breastfeeding mothers, the same rules apply to dry coughs as during pregnancy: the usual home remedies and lozenges can be used while breastfeeding, but cough suppressants should only be taken after consulting a doctor.

Dry cough in the baby

A dry cough in babies usually occurs after an infection, but there are also other causes

In babies, dry cough can be a symptom during or after a viral respiratory infection occur. Viral infections in babies and toddlers can up to six times a year occur. Some remedy this Home remedies: A damp cloth on the heater or a pot of hot water in an inaccessible place in the children's room humidify the air and thus the airways.

A dry cough is also common in babies as a reaction from the body harmful tobacco smoke on. Apartments in which a baby is growing up should therefore be absolutely smoke-free.

But also different Other diseases are possible triggers. Especially non-immune infants get pertussis, the whooping cough. A vaccination is from the 2nd month of life possible and is strongly recommended. Whooping cough begins with the catarrhal stage, which lasts about two weeks: Cough, runny nose, subfebrile temperatures and Conjunctivitis create the impression of a completely normal cold. In the subsequent convulsium stage, which can last up to four weeks, the children suffer from severe disease Seizures with staccato cough, blue discoloration of the skin and brief pauses in breathing. Coughing attacks can be absent, especially in very young babies. In the last phase of the pertussis disease, the coughing attacks subside. The coughing fits in whooping cough can be triggered by a mouth spatula in the throat area. Therapy is with Antibiotics.

The Bronchiolitis is a viral infection of the bronchioles that almost only occurs in babies. Typical characteristics are Coughing fits with shortness of breathcaused by retractions on the ala and between the Ribs can be seen.

A coughing fit can also be a Signs of an absolute emergency be, maybe her baby has something swallowedwhich is now obstructing breathing.


Dry cough is a very nerve-wracking business and can be significant Limitations in everyday life entail.
Dry cough can be a reaction of the body Medication or to dry heating air be in winter, but also under a simple cold occur. In all cases, it is advisable to try the home remedies mentioned under "irritable cough home remedies" in order to improve the irritable cough.

If the dry cough does not go away after several weeks, a visit to the doctor is advisable. Because dry cough can do that Symptom of another disease be and on a chronic Sinusitis (Sinus infection) or a Reflux disease Clues.

Just at Children and adolescents continuous cough is a common symptom of the "cough variant asthma“, One asthma-Disease that is less characterized by seizure-like shortness of breath than expressed by permanent cough.

Even if you suspect that the dry cough is a reaction to a drug you take regularly, you should discuss with a doctor whether you can stop the drug or replace it with another drug. Medicines should never be discontinued without authorization. ACE inhibitors and Beta blockers, against certain drug groups high blood pressure cause dry coughs relatively often.

Home remedies

Dry, tickly cough can be very annoying and rob you of sleep at night.
Various home remedies have proven to be effective in improving the dry cough.

If the scratching in the throat starts and you already notice that “something is going on” you should neck definitely keep warm.
Most people will pull one on their own thick scarf when you notice the first symptoms of the onset of irritable cough.
Warmth not only helps the neck, but also the entire upper body.
A Hot water bottle or warm potato wraps around the chest help with dry coughs.

It is also important that the Keep throat moist. Much drink so is trendy! They are best for a dry cough Fruit and herbal teas.
chamomile works against inflammation of the Mucous membrane. Particularly recommended teas are coltsfoot, mallow and Marshmallowthat slow the cough reflex.
Help in between Cough drops or cough lozenges from the pharmacy, which soothe the mucous membrane in the throat area and thus counteract the cough reflex.

If you suffer from a dry cough, you should avoid staying in rooms with fans or air conditioning. Fans and air conditioners dry out the airwhich in turn dries out the mucous membranes, which need special moisture, especially in the case of irritable coughs.

In order to give moisture to the attacked mucous membrane, you can do this several times a day for about ten minutes in the case of a dry, irritating cough inhale.
Simply put hot water in a bowl and add chamomile, for example (two tea bags are also ideal). Then bend your head over the bowl and place a towel over your head so that as much hot steam as possible reaches the airways.
Children should never be allowed to inhale unsupervised!

An old tip is this homemade onion syrup: Boil a chopped onion with a little honey and water for a few minutes and then let it steep for about three hours.
The onion syrup soothes the mucous membranes. A tablespoon can be taken several times a day.

The classic before bed is of course a glass hot milk with honeythat slows down the cough reflex so much that you can sleep better.
The warmth calms you down and the honey lays like a kind of protective film on the irritated mucous membranes and also calms you down.
Children under one year of age should not eat honeybecause their intestinal flora is not yet sufficiently developed to kill any germs it may contain, which are harmless to older children and adults.

Homeopathy and Globules

Various homeopathic medicines can be given for dry coughs. The most common are Aralia racemosa, Conium, Drosera and Hyoscyamus.

Aralia contains essential oils and is used for colds and dry coughs in low potentiation, for example Tablets D3.

Conium, the spotted hemlock, is used on people who mainly have nocturnal irritable cough complain. It are suitable Tablets with the potentiation D6.

Drosera is a medicinal plant that is colloquially called sundew and used by homeopaths at accompanying depressed mood is used.

Hyoscyamus, henbane, is found in various States of irritation and excitement given, usually in potency for dry coughs C9.

At feverish infections with dry, tickly cough Belladonna are given. So-called complex remedies are also available for purchase, which contain various homeopathic substances of varying potency and are given several times a day in fixed doses over the period of the symptoms.