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Dry Coughs - Topic Overview

Dry coughs that continue after other cold symptoms clear or that occur without other symptoms may be caused by a variety of health problems.

Some people start coughing when they breathe very dry, heated air. This can be caused by environmental irritation or allergies. This type of cough may be more noticeable when you first turn on your furnace in the fall, because dust and other irritants that have collected over the summer are blown into the air.

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Chronic dry coughs are usually caused by irritation from cigarette smoke, environmental irritants, allergies, postnasal drip, or asthma. Several chronic lung diseases also cause a dry, hacking cough. Some people cough out of habit for no clear reason.

Gastric reflux may also cause a chronic dry cough. Usually you will also have other symptoms, such as heartburn, burning in the throat, or increased saliva.

Less common causes of a dry cough include:

A doctor can evaluate your symptoms and recommend appropriate treatment.

    This information is produced and provided by the National Cancer Institute (NCI). The information in this topic may have changed since it was written. For the most current information, contact the National Cancer Institute via the Internet web site at http:// cancer .gov or call 1-800-4-CANCER.

    WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise

    Last Updated: July 10, 2012
    This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information.
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