Dry cough but no fever: 5 causes and treatments – Insider

Having a cough can be annoying and uncomfortable. But not all coughs are created equal. 
A wet or productive cough brings up mucus, saliva, or other excretions; these coughs often happen when you have a respiratory infection like the flu. Dry coughs, on the other hand, don’t bring up any secretions. They happen when the airway becomes irritated. 
“It causes a lot of distress because the chest can hurt after a while,” says Dr. Jyoti Matta, a pulmonologist with RWJBarnabas Health
A dry cough but no fever can be caused by conditions including allergies, acid reflux, asthma , or a recent infection that you’ve since recovered from. The lack of fever usually means there’s not currently an infection, says Dr. Neal H. Patel, a family medicine physician with Providence St. Joseph Hospital
“It tends to be more of an annoyance and frustration,” Patel says. 
Identifying and treating the underlying cause of your dry cough can get you feeling back to normal. Here are 5 common causes. 
Important: If you experience chest tightness or trouble breathing, call your doctor or 911 immediately, since this could be a sign of a medical emergency.  
Allergies, including hay fever, are one of the most common causes of dry cough, Matta says. About 8% of American adults and 7% of kids have seasonal allergies , which can leave them coughing. 
“We inhale allergens, which causes the back of the throat to become irritated,” she says. Allergies can also cause post-nasal drip, which further irritates the airway.
If allergies are causing your dry cough, you’ll likely notice it happening at certain times of year or when you’ve been exposed to an allergen, like pet dander. You may also experience other symptoms of hay fever, including:
How to treat it: Take over-the-counter allergy medications including antihistamines and intranasal corticosteroids
Avoid your triggers as best you can by taking steps like vacuuming frequently, keeping windows closed when pollen counts are high, and keeping pets out of your bedroom. 
You can also talk to your doctor about long-term treatments like allergy shots
After you’ve fully recovered from an infection like the common cold, you might still find yourself with a dry cough, says Dr. Omid Mehdizadeh, an otolaryngologist and laryngologist at Providence Saint John’s Health Center
After an infection, your airways are particularly sensitive to everything from cold air to dust. Plus, lingering post-nasal drip can irritate your throat. 
Unfortunately, this post-viral cough can last for weeks or even months. It’s not harmful, but it can be uncomfortable and may interfere with sleep, exercise, or other habits. 
How to treat it: Talk to your doctor. They might recommend antihistamines to address the post-nasal drip or an inhaler to ease coughing.
Home remedies like consuming honey straight or with tea, staying hydrated, and using a humidifier can also soothe your irritated airways. 
Chronic dry cough is a common symptom of gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), acid reflux that occurs at least twice a week. 
GERD affects about 20% of Americans, and up to 25% of chronic coughs — coughs that last eight weeks or longer — are attributed to GERD. 
If you have GERD, “the acid from the stomach can creep up the esophagus and irritate the trachea, or airway tube,” Patel says. “That can lead to spasm and cough.”
Other symptoms of GERD include:
How to treat it: See your doctor and develop a treatment plan for GERD. This might include over-the-counter medicines like antacids and prescription medications like proton pump inhibitors that reduce acid production.
Home remedies and lifestyle adjustments, like eating smaller meals, avoiding fatty and spicy foods, and sleeping with your head and chest elevated, can also help. 
Undiagnosed or uncontrolled asthma can lead to a dry cough with no fever. About 7%-8% of American adults have asthma. These people are more susceptible to both inflamed and irritated airways, which can cause coughing, Matta says. 
If you have asthma, you might experience other symptoms including:
How to treat it: Work with your doctor to develop a care plan. This will likely include inhaled albuterol to relieve airway spasms and steroid inhalers to reduce inflammation, Matta says. 
You may also try incorporating natural remedies like breathing exercises, yoga, and dietary changes. 
About 12% of Americans smoke cigarettes, and about 15% have used an e-cigarette or vape. Smoking of any type can increase your risk for a dry cough with no fever. 
“Smoking and vaping cause the cilia, which are small hair-like projections that line the breathing tube, to stop working,” Patel says. “That makes all the particles from smoking and vape pens accumulate, which in turn irritates the breathing tube and back of the throat leading to cough.”
How to treat it: Talk to your doctor about how to quit smoking. Try tools like gradually decreasing how much you smoke, therapy, and avoiding triggers like alcohol that may increase your desire to smoke. 
Note: Dry cough is one of the most common side effects of ACE inhibitor medications for conditions like high blood pressure , heart failure , migraines, and diabetes
Having a dry cough without fever is fairly common, Patel says. It’s not dangerous in and of itself, but it can be uncomfortable and annoying. 
It can also be a sign that you have another health condition, like allergies, asthma, or GERD. So, it’s best to see your doctor if your cough lasts for more than three weeks, he says. 
“There are many different options for treatment, and people should not be dissuaded from exploring them if they suffer from dry coughing,” Patel says.