Patients with persistent dry cough should seek a doctor for evaluation, according to MedicineNet. Persistent or chronic dry cough is often a sign of a viral infection, a sinus problem or stress. Multiple underlying maladies can cause other types of chronic cough, such as asthma, postnasal drip, esophageal reflux, infections and interstitial lung disease. Specific drugs also include chronic cough as a side effect. Tumors, sarcoidosis, congestive heart failure, allergies and emphysema are less common causes of chronic cough.
Treatment of chronic cough depends upon the underlying cause, explains MedicineNet. Over-the-counter cough medicines that contain guaifenesin or dextromethorphan are effective for relieving symptoms, as are drinking more fluids, using cough lozenges and inhaling steam. Codeine and other prescribed narcotics can alleviate severe cases. Home remedies, such as keeping the head elevated during sleep, avoiding tobacco products, consuming honey, gargling warm saltwater and using cough drops, may prove effective.
It is possible to prevent chronic cough, states MedicineNet. Avoiding smoking is the most important precaution. Patients with asthma or postnasal drip should consult their doctors for tips on how to better manage their conditions. Avoiding contact with people who have bronchitis or pneumonia reduces the risk of chronic cough. Consuming more fruit with fiber and flavonoids may also reduce the risk.