Medical questions & health advice by board certified doctors
"What might it mean if I have had a dry cough for a month now?"
I have taken cough drops which don't help at all. I have also taken allergy pills that break up the mucous temporarily.
Thank you for your question, and I am sorry to hear about your prolonged cough. I would recommend that you meet with your primary care physician for further evaluation. In general, dry cough that lasts for several weeks can come from a number of conditions. If you had a recent viral respiratory infection (congestion, cough, sore throat), you may have a persistent post-infectious cough that may last for up to 6-8 weeks. If you have symptoms that are more notable after meals or when lying down, especially if associated with a burning chest discomfort, you cough could be a symptom of gastric reflux. Upper airway cough syndrome (also called post-nasal drip) can also cause chronic cough. This is usually related to allergies that result in congestion and irritation of cough receptors, and usually responds well to allergy medications. Another possible cause is cough-variant asthma. This would be more likely if you notice symptoms in dry conditions, cold weather, at night, and/or with exercise. Finally, if you have a history of heart failure, accumulation of fluid in the lungs could cause chronic cough. In order to tease these possibilities apart and determine the best treatment for you, I would strongly recommend meeting with your primary care physician. I hope you feel better soon!
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