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Dry Cough: Causes and Simple Home Remedies

Woman coughing Dry cough (definition) is a type of cough that does not produce sputum or phlegm. It can be triggered by infections and cold (the most common causes of dry cough), allergic reactions, traumas, lung cancer, airway obstruction, and other abnormalities. In most cases of chronic dry cough, inflammation is an important feature.

Brain O2 levels for normal breathing and after hyperventilation In cases of difficulty breathing, fever, chest pain, heart palpitations, night sweats, or swollen legs or ankles, the situation can be life-threatening and you need to seek immediate medical help. In cases of persistent dry cough, see your health care provider.

adDry cough can be present in people with various respiratory conditions, such as asthma, bronchitis, COPD, cystic fibrosis and many others. In most people, the problem gets worse at night due to additional CO2 losses.

Irritation of urge-to-cough nerve receptors occurs due to low CO2 levels in nerve cells in airways (the same reason as in cases of irritable nerve states in the brain leading to panic attacks, anxiety, and many other problems). Why do people with respiratory conditions often have dry cough? The cause is in low CO2 levels in their airways.

Ventilation rates (chronic diseases)

Condition Minute
Number of
All references or
click below for abstracts
Normal breathing 6 L/min - Medical textbooks
Healthy Subjects 6-7 L/min >400 Results of 14 studies
Asthma 13 (~+mn~2) L/min 16 Chalupa et al, 2004
Asthma 15 L/min 8 Johnson et al, 1995
Asthma 14 (~+mn~6) L/min 39 Bowler et al, 1998
Asthma 13 (~+mn~4) L/min 17 Kassabian et al, 1982
Asthma 12 L/min 101 McFadden, Lyons, 1968
COPD 14 (~+mn~2) L/min 12 Palange et al, 2001
COPD 12 (~+mn~2) L/min 10 Sinderby et al, 2001
COPD 14 L/min 3 Stulbarg et al, 2001
Cystic fibrosis 15 L/min 15 Fauroux et al, 2006
Cystic fibrosis 10 L/min 11 Browning et al, 1990
Cystic fibrosis* 10 L/min 10 Ward et al, 1999
CF and diabetes* 10 L/min 7 Ward et al, 1999
Cystic fibrosis 16 L/min 7 Dodd et al, 2006
Cystic fibrosis 18 L/min 9 McKone et al, 2005
Cystic fibrosis* 13 (~+mn~2) L/min 10 Bell et al, 1996
Cystic fibrosis 11-14 L/min 6 Tepper et al, 1983

ad Since these people suffer from chronic overbreathing (even when they do not have dry cough), and they breathe even more during coughing (up to 20 l/min and more), they suffer from reduced-body-O2 content: less than 20 seconds for the body-oxygen test. Note that the medical norm is 40-50 seconds.

The picture below explains the main details of dry cough mechanism and causes of cough. Note that CO2 deficiency leads to spasm of all smooth muscles in the human body. These muscles include bronchi and bronchioles, while their constriction is known as bronchospasm.

Dry cough mechanism (chart)

An additional cause of persistent dry cough is inflammation that appears and becomes chronic only in cases of positive body voltage due to a lack of electrical grounding. Electrons from Earth quench and prevent development of inflammation.

Two dry cough remedies

The main dry cough home remedy includes a simple and easy breathing exercise. More than 170 Soviet and Russian medical doctors tested many thousands of their patients and discovered that most cases of dry cough could be stopped in 1-2 minutes using "Breathe Easy" exercise (to accumulate slightly more CO2 while being totally relaxed). This breathing exercise calms down nerve cells in airways (the urge-to-cough receptors), and increases body-O2 content.

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Related web pages: How to stop coughing (even at night) with a simple breathing exercise.


J Assoc Physicians India. 2000 Mar;48(3):343-5.
The role of cough and hyperventilation in perpetuating airway inflammation in asthma.
Singh V, Chowdhary R, Chowdhary N.
Department of Pulmonary Medicine, SMS Medical College, Jaipur-302 016, India.
Air flowing through a pipe exerts frictional stress on the walls of the pipe. Frictional stress of more than 40 N/m2 (velocity equivalent of air 113 m/s) is known to cause acute endothelial damage in blood vessels. The frictional stress in airways during coughing may be much greater, however, since the velocity of air may be as high as speed of sound in air. We suggest that high levels of frictional stress perpetuate airway inflammation in airways which are already inflamed and vulnerable to frictional stress-induced trauma in patients with asthma. Activities associated with rapid ventilation and higher frictional stress (e.g. exercise, hyperventilation, coughing, sneezing and laughing) cause asthma to worsen whilst activities that reduce frictional stress (Yoga 'Pranayama', breathing a helium-oxygen mixture and nasal continuous positive airway pressure) are beneficial. Therefore control of cough may have anti-inflammatory benefits in patients with asthma.

Jpn J Physiol. 1991;41(6):879-91.
Influence of central respiratory activity on the cough response in anesthetized dogs.
Suzuki H, Kondo T, Yamabayashi H, Kobayashi I, Ohta Y.
Department of Medicine, Tokai University School of Medicine, Isehara, Japan.
Cough responses evoked by mechanical stimulation of the tracheobronchial mucosa in anesthetized and tracheostomized dogs were studied... Coughing could be evoked when the dog was made apneic either by hyperventilation or by the Hering-Breuer reflex...

Handb Exp Pharmacol. 2009;(187):263-76.
Clinical cough I: the urge-to-cough: a respiratory sensation.
Davenport PW.
Department of Physiological Sciences, Box 100144, HSC, University of Florida, Gainesville, FL 32610, USA.
Cough is generated by a brainstem neural network. Chemical and mechanical stimulation of the airway can elicit a reflex cough and can elicit a cognitive sensation, the urge-to-cough. The sensation of an urge-to-cough is a respiratory-related sensation. The role of the respiratory sensation of an urge-to-cough is to engage behavioral modulation of cough motor action. Respiratory sensations are elicited by a combination of modalities: central neural, chemical, and mechanical. Stimulation of respiratory afferents or changes in respiratory pattern resulting in a cognitive awareness of breathing are mediated by central neural processes that are the cognitive neural basis for respiratory sensations, including the urge-to-cough. It is proposed that the urge-to-cough is a component of the cough motivation-to-action system. The urge-to-cough is induced by stimuli that motivate subjects to protect their airway by coughing...

Reference pages: Breathing norms and the DIY body oxygen test:
- Breathing norms: Parameters, graph, and description of the normal breathing pattern
- Body-oxygen test (CP test) : How to measure your own breathing and body oxygenation (two in one) using a simple DIY test

References: pages about CO2 effect:
- Vasodilation: CO2 expands arteries and arterioles facilitating perfusion (or blood supply) to all vital organs
- The Bohr effect: How and why oxygen is released by red blood cells in body tissues
- Nerve stabilization: Carbon dioxide has powerful calmative and sedative effects on brain neurons and nerve cells

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