Pioneer Health

High & dry

High & dry

A strange dry cough has beset the Capital and its ferocious persistence is leaving the citizens in a state of acute discomfort. Pioneer Health tells you how to deal with this new and yet undefined virus 


There are multiple causes of a dry cough. These are:

  • An allergic cough: It is the most common cough caused by dust, pollution, and pollen from the flowers.
  • bronchial hyper reactivity airways: Patients who have recovered from viral fever have a persistent dry cough for a month and a half because of hyper reactive airways following the infection.
  • Acidity and reflux: If a patient has acidity, it comes up and causes not only the dry cough but irritation in the throat due to acid reflux.
  • Cough equivalent asthma: People who have asthma, that also manifest to dry a cough.
  • Medication: Sometimes there are a few medication and anti-hypertensive which can cause a dry cough.

— Dr S Chatterjee, Senior Consultant, internal medicineat Indraprastha Apollo Hospital, Delhi

Investigation & Prevention

Investigation in case of dry cough includes a complete blood count, a serum immunoglobulin E (IgE) level and a chest X-Ray only on the order of the doctor should be done as it has radiation in it and pregnant women should not undergo that. The patient can also get the ENT evaluation as well.

If a dry cough happens with a viral infection, it is communicable but if it is only an allergy, it is non-communicable. It is difficult to prevent a dry cough. The allergens can be in your office environment on the carpets, dust in the air conditioner, or pet at your home. All you can do it keep the surroundings clean. Prevent yourself from being exposed to allergens by wearing a good quality mask

— Dr S Chatterjee


If a patient starts getting breathless, cough persisting seven to 10 days and worsening every day, patient having fever or blood with green or yellow colour sputum, they much immediately go to the local doctor.


If the patient has the fever, the patient must immediately see a local physician. But if the patient have only cough, they can wait for a few days or a week and then show it to the doctor. Patients can have steam inhalation and monitor the temperature. They can take homemade remedies for a week as it would not be harming. If a cough doesn’t go away, they must see a physician who would do a proper investigation. If the patient symptoms are not settling doesn’t or becoming worse within a week, the physician would refer the patient to the specialised doctor like a gastroenterologist, or an ENT specialist.

It is not recommend to take cough syrup  by the patient by himself/herself. Patient must start medication only under the guidance of the doctor. Antibiotics are always not necessary for a dry cough without fever. Most of the people including doctor would give antibiotics even just for a cough.

Ayurveda says

The air we breathe in sustains life, but it is also one of the most common carrier of diseases and germs. Airborne virus, bacteria, dust&smoke enters the body with air and lodge in the respiratory system including the lungs. As a natural response to that the body builds up phlegm and expels the foreign materials through cough. The production of phlegm, swelling and irritation are all mechanisms of the body which are aimed at keeping your body free of foreign particles and germs which enter the body through the respiratory channel.


Cough is an ailment in itself, but it can also be symptoms of other diseases, including some life-threatening ones such as cancer or TB. In general, the reasons behind cough are simple such as exposure to cold weather, dust or smoke allergies, seasonal allergies, imbalances caused by disturbed body humours which are triggered by temperature changes, wrong diet, impaired digestion, eating too much fried or sweet foods, smoking or chewing tobacco, drinking alcohol.


In general, Ayurveda recognises two different forms of coughs— dry and phlegm induced cough. Coughs that persist longer than three weeks are considered old coughs and requires immediate and proper attention from an doctor.


 What not to do

  • Avoid being exposed to cold air. Try not to use the AC.
  • Avoid sleeping during the day, do not stay awake till late at night.
  • Don’t overeat or eat when you don’t feel hungry.
  • Try not to eat after sundown.
  •  Do not suppress natural urges.
  • Adopt a lifestyle that is in conformation with nature.
  • Avoid known allergy triggers.

— Ayurvedacharya Dr Partap Chauhan, Director Jiva Ayurveda

Home remedies

  • Add half a  teaspoon of turmeric in a glass of water and gargle. This will give relief in dry coughs.
  • Drink a glass of lukewarm water after adding half teaspoon ginger powder. This will add warmth and give relief in throat irritation.
  • Mix 10 ml ginger juice with 10 ml tulsi juice and 1 teaspoon of honey. Consume this mixture twice every day for relief in cough and congestion.
  • Chew on a clove for 10-15 minutes for relief in throat congestion and irritation.
  • Add a little rock salt to a freshly peeled ginger bud (1 inch long) and chew it. Add more salt if the hotness is too much for you to bear.
  • Soak 10-12 raisins overnight. Next morning, add a pinch of black pepper powder and eat them. This will help in warming the body.
  • Rubbing the chest with slightly heated sesame oil is helpful.
  • Toast 2 teaspoons of cumin in a pan. Wrap the cumin in a cotton handkerchief and inhale the aroma of the cumin. Reheat the cumin and do this a couple of times. Chewing the cumin can also help.
  • Take 2 teaspoons of ginger juice with 1 teaspoon of honey. Consume this twice or thrice a day.

These tips are not meant to substitute the expert advice of a doctor. Please talk to an ayurvedic doctor for proper diagnosis and medication.



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