You Don’t Have Phlegm
Throughout the pandemic, the COVID cough has often been described as dry, which “generally means coughing without bringing up phlegm,” says Favini.
However, COVID is hardly the only illness that causes a dry cough. “Allergies and gastroesophageal reflux can both cause a dry cough and shortness of breath,” notes Leann Poston, MD, contributor to Invigor Medical. And for more on where the virus is catching on, check out Almost All COVID Transmission Is Happening in These 5 Places, Doctor Says.
How Is A Cough Treated
If you have a persistent cough, your doctor will want to treat any underlying condition that is causing the cough. There may also be triggers that make the symptoms of a persistent cough worse.
Smoking or breathing in other peoples smoke is one trigger that can make cough symptoms worse. Try to avoid being around people who are smoking. If you are a smoker, try to cut down or quit. For advice on quitting smoking, visit the Quit Now website.
Most short-term coughs are due to viral infections of the upper respiratory tract. Most of the time these coughs will go away on their own. Antibiotics do not help because they dont kill viruses, and may do harm in these circumstances. However, there are some things you can do to relieve the symptoms:
There are many cough remedies and over-the-counter medicines for cough, but they are not generally helpful in treating short-term cough and may have side effects.
Cough medicines should not be given to children aged under 6 years. The Australian Therapeutic Goods Administration has advised that cough and cold medicines should NOT be given to children less than 6 years as they may cause harm, and there is little evidence of their benefits.
Cough and cold medicines should only be given to children aged 6 to 11 years on the advice of a doctor, pharmacist or nurse practitioner.
How Common Is A Cough In Covid
Coughing is a reasonably common symptom of COVID-19, affecting more than four in ten adults who are ill with the disease. Itâs less common in children, affecting around a quarter of children .
Importantly, this means that just over half of adults and three quarters of children with COVID-19 will not have a cough.
Coughing usually occurs along with other symptoms, and only around one in ten people with COVID-19 have a persistent cough as their only symptom.
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Home Remedies For Congestion
Outside of medications, there are other home remedies you can try to clear up your chest congestion.
- Stay hydrated. Mucus is 90% water and can get thicker when youre dehydrated.
- Use a humidifier, face steamer, or vaporizer.
- Soothe your face with a warm, moist washcloth or breathe in with your face over a bowl of hot water.
- Try deep breathing and positional exercises.
- Try rinsing your sinuses with a nasal irrigation device or nasal spray.
- Prop yourself up when sleeping or lying down.
Is Coughing A Sign Of The Coronavirus
Heres the confounding thing about COVID-19: Patients can present with drastically different symptoms, ranging from sore throat to fever to gastrointestinal issues. Coughing seems to be one of the most common, along with fever and shortness of breath.
The CDC studied 149,082 laboratory-confirmed COVID-19 cases between February 12 and April 2, 2020. Of this number, 2,572 were children younger than 18 years old, and experts analyzed symptoms from 291 of them. About 56 percent reported fever, 54 percent had cough, and 13 percent experienced shortness of breath. Compare this to the adult population, of which the prevalence of fever, cough, and shortness of breath was 71 percent, 80 percent, and 43 percent, respectively.
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Nearly 20 percent of pediatric patients studied were asymptomatic carriers. Keep in mind, though, that this study only reported laboratory-confirmed coronavirus cases, so it might not be an accurate representation of the general population. Its entirely possible for a higher percentage of kids to have the coronavirus without cough, fever, or any other symptoms.
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Can Cough Medicines Be Used For Children
Cough and cold medicines are designed to help reduce the symptoms of the common cold such as runny nose and cough. They do not cure the infection.
The ingredients in these medicines can cause serious side effects in young children. To avoid harm:
- over-the-counter cough and cold medicines are not recommended for children under 6 years of age
- only those labelled as safe for children should be given to children 6 years of age and older.
For more information, ask your pharmacist or see cough and cold medicines advice for parents.
Tackling Your Coronavirus Cough
While youre recovering at home, what can you do about your cough?
The CDC says that over-the-counter medicines may help with symptoms, but doesnt specify which ones work best. The World Health Organization says that some Western, traditional or home remedies may provide comfort and alleviate symptoms.
There are two nonmedication strategies you can use to try to help relieve a cough caused by COVID-19 at home, according to leading health authorities. And if you are considering using an over-the-counter medication, there are some important things you need to know to make an informed choice. Read on to learn more.
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Whats The Difference Between A Dry Cough And A Wet Cough
If you has a cough, you might be worried, as coughing is a hallmark symptom of COVID-19. But there are many different types of coughs. And of course, developing a cough doesnt mean you have COVID-19.
Coughing has a purpose. Its a reflex that helps protect your body by clearing germs, toxins and mucus from your lungs and trachea. However, a cough that lasts longer than eight weeks is considered persistent if you have a persistent cough, you should contact your doctor because chronic coughs may be a sign of an underlying health issue.
If youve noticed youre coughing, try to remember when it started. Has it been days, weeks or months? And keep track of when the cough is at its worst during the day or at night? Does your cough flare up after exercising, eating or smoking? How severe is it? And is it wet or dry the two primary classifications of coughs?
Heres a breakdown of common coughs experienced by adults, some potential causes and some guidance as to when to see a doctor.
Myth : Theres Nothing We Can Do Until A Vaccine Is Invented
Hirsch said an effective vaccine is realistically about 12 to 18 months away. Once one becomes available, it will take time to understand how effective it is.
Its something to strive for, but I dont think there is a certainty that will end the epidemic, he said.
He added that focusing on other medications to potentially treat symptoms of COVID-19 are also important, as well as medications that can soothe the bodys inflammatory response to the infection.
Its important to evaluate these treatments in ways that give us knowledge as opposed to throwing around all different kinds of treatments in a sloppy way that doesnt advance our way to care for people, said Hirsch.
Im afraid this virus might not go away as quickly as I hope it would, and its important to have strategy.
While the coronavirus that causes COVID-19 is new, other coronaviruses have caused health problems in humans in recent years, including those responsible for SARS and MERS.
Moreover, certain viruses in the bat population are genetically capable of causing future pandemics, said Hirsch.
To think of this as a biological weapon that escaped control or as something that is manmade I understand that as a psychological defense mechanism to be able to understand, contain, and otherize this phenomenon. It makes the world easier to understand and gives false comfort and gives a worldview of us versus them, Hirsch said.
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Key Points About Cough In Children
See your doctor straight away if your child has a cough and:
Food or an object going down the wrong way causes a cough that starts suddenly when eating or playing.
You should also see your doctor if your child has a cough that has lasted more than 4 weeks.
If you are worried about your child’s cough and unsure what to do, call Healthline on 0800 611 116.
/7it Is Accompanied By Shortness Of Breath
Coughing and fever accompanied by shortness of breath is another confirmed sign of coronavirus infection. Persistent dry cough puts a lot of pressure on your respiratory tract, but that should not leave you gasping for air. If it does that then that means it is not a seasonal issue and you may be infected with the virus. Up to 40 per cent of coronavirus patients reported that they felt breathless during the initial days. Shortness of breath is also a sign of long COVID. Most people experience it even weeks after recovering from the infection.
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Dealing With A Dry Cough
- Stay well hydrated.
- Sip a soft drink take small sips, one after the other and avoid taking large sips.
- Use steam inhalation pour hot water into a bowl and put your head over the bowl. If comfortable, cover your head and bowl with a towel. Do not use boiling water with small children to avoid the risk of scolding.
- Drink warm honey and lemon or another warm drink this can help to soothe the throat.
- If you do not have a drink to hand, but need to cough, try swallowing repeatedly. This can work in a similar way to sipping water.
Causes Of A Dry Cough
A dry cough differs from a wet cough in that it does not produce any fluid or mucus. It generally develops in response to irritation or inflammation of the airways.
Some common causes of a dry cough include:
- gastroesophageal reflux disease
, the most common symptoms of COVID-19 are a dry cough, fever, and tiredness. In some people, however, coughing may produce sputum.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention report that a sore throat and a runny nose, or nasal congestion, can be prominent symptoms in some cases.
The symptoms of COVID-19 are usually mild and tend to begin gradually. Severe COVID-19 can lead to pneumonia. If a person develops pneumonia, they may develop a wet cough.
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Cough Relief Without Medicine
Nonmedication treatments for coughs include drinking plenty of fluids, especially warm drinks, according to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration . Drinking plenty of fluids also helps prevent someone whos sick from becoming dehydrated, which can also be caused by fever.
A cough can be quite irritating to the throat. For adults, cough drops or hard candies might help soothe a sore throat and reduce the urge to cough, according to the CDC.
Consider asking your doctor whether to use a humidifier. For dry coughs, the extra moisture from a humidifier can help make it easier to breathe. While this hasnt been proven specifically for coronavirus, humidifiers are useful for other respiratory illnesses.
Do Colds Flu And Covid
It can take a while for inflammation from respiratory infections to go away. During this time, the lungs and airways may be extra sensitive to inhaled irritants. This sensitivity can make your throat more ticklish, causing you to cough.
Most people who get sick with COVID-19 have dry coughs not wet coughs like with the cold or flu. However, wet coughs can also happen with COVID-19 infections. Your healthcare provider may recommend a COVID-19 test to identify the cause of the cough.
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What Is The Prevalence Of Post
In a multicentre observational cohort study done in 1250 COVID-19 survivors in Michigan, USA, 75 of those who responded to the telephone survey reported new or worsening cough at 2 months after discharge. Persistent cough was also reported in patients with mild baseline severity , cohort studies in Norway and the Faroe Islands found that about 10% of their non-hospitalised patients had cough at 4 months after symptom onset., In a pooled analysis, we found that the estimated prevalence of persistent cough was 18% in 14 studies of hospitalised patients ., , , , , , , , , , , , , However, prevalence varied widely between studies, and is presumably dependent on patient characteristics, treatment, follow-up duration, and outcome definition.
Prevalence of post-COVID cough in 14 studies of patients who required hospitalisation
Follow-up duration ranges from 6 weeks to 4 months. Detailed characteristics of included studies are summarised in ., , , , , , , , , , , , , We conducted a random-effects meta-analysis to estimate the pooled prevalence and standard errors for post-COVID-cough in previously hospitalised patients, and quantified the degree of heterogeneity between studies using the I in the MetaXL 5.3 software .
About Author: Ken Harris
Ken Harris is the proudest father and a writing coordinator for the Marketing & Communications division of OSF HealthCare.He has a bachelor’s in journalism from the University of Wisconsin-Madison and worked as a daily newspaper reporter for four years before leaving the field and eventually finding his way to OSF HealthCare.In his free time, Ken likes reading, fly fishing, hanging out with his dog and generally pestering his lovely, patient wife.
You May Have Skin Issues
While neither the WHO or CDC mentions skin rashes as a possible symptom of COVID, doctors across the country have reported various types of skin rashesfrom COVID toes to rashes and lesions on the bodythought to be as a result of virus-related inflammation. In fact, the American Academy of Dermatology has set up a registry where healthcare workers can report cases of skin conditions that develop in COVID-19 patients, in hopes of understanding exactly why the virus is causing these issues.
What Does A Coronavirus Cough Sound Like
According to Hector de Leon, M.D., pediatrician for Kaiser Permanente in Colorado, the coronavirus type of cough is often drymeaning it doesnt produce mucus or phlegm. Its likely caused by irritation of the lung tissues from the virus. Other signs of a dry cough include tickling in the throat, hacking sounds, and no feeling of relief after a coughing spell.
Its important to note, though, that a smaller percentage of coronavirus patients report a productive wet cough instead, says Dr. de Leon. This type of cough releases mucus or phlegm, and it often comes with postnasal drip.
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Breathing Exercises To Clear Covid Lungs
If youre having trouble clearing mucus from your lungs after a respiratory infection, these exercises may help. There are two types of exercise here.
The first two are breathing exercises that use your breath to strengthen your lungs and help you expel mucus. The second two are postural exercises that use gravity to help move mucus out of your lungs.
Looking After A Child With A Cough
- Making your child more comfortable is the main focus. There are no medicines to treat the commonest viral causes of cough.
- Encourage rest and give lots of water to drink.
- For children older than 12 months, honey can help soothe their cough.
- Vapour rubs can be applied to their chest and back. However, there is little scientific evidence as to how well they work and they are not recommended for babies under 3 months. Avoid putting the rub near the nostril area.
- Simple pain relievers such as paracetamol can be used to reduce pain or fever and make your child more comfortable.
- Keeping your home smokefree, warm, clean and dry is best for your childrens health.
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Why Does My Chest Hurt When I Cough
When you have an unproductive dry cough, you essentially cough up air. A dry cough that is very vigorous or lasts longer than three weeks can strain your lungs or chest muscles. You may develop chest pain with the cough.
Most people have a feeling of chest tightness with a dry cough. You may feel a squeezing sensation in the chest or pressure, like theres a weight on your chest.
Sudden, unexplained chest pain can be a sign of a heart attack. You should seek immediate medical care.
When Should I See My Doctor
Please seek medical attention if:
- you have a cough that lasts for more than 3 weeks
- you are short of breath or have chest pain or unexplained tiredness
- you cough up blood, mucus, or phlegm
- you have trouble sleeping because of coughing
- you have unexplained problems like weight loss or a fever
If your child has a cough, please see a doctor if they have:
- a cough that starts suddenly it may be due to an inhaled foreign body
- a cough that lasts longer than 2 weeks, with or without a cold
- a cough that interferes a lot with their sleep or daily life
- difficulty with breathing
- lethargy and appear unwell
- fewer wet nappies than usual or are not drinking much
- has a change in skin colour, turning blue or very pale
- is having significant breathing difficulties
- is drowsy or unresponsive
- is choking
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