This Is The Real Difference Between A Dry Cough And A Wet Cough

It is never fun when you get a cough. Most of the time, a cough is accompanied by a cold or some other kind of condition that is making you sick — and for good reason. When you cough, your body is trying to expel something from your airways (via Healthline). You have probably heard of dry and wet coughs, but what is the difference between the two?

When you have a dry cough, otherwise known as a nonproductive cough, you do not cough up any mucus or phlegm. You do not necessarily have to be sick with a cold or other virus to have a dry cough. People with allergies, asthma, postnasal drip, and acid reflux often struggle with bouts of dry coughs.

A wet cough, or a productive cough, generates mucus or phlegm. These kinds of coughs are generally caused by colds, the flu, pneumonia, bronchitis, or chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (via WebMD).

How to treat dry and wet coughs

How you treat your cough, of course, depends on what kind of cough you have and what is causing it. If you have any kind of cough, you should refrain from smoking to help your throat and airways heal. Staying hydrated can also stave off a nasty cough by keeping your throat moist. While you are drinking more, add some honey to warm tea or water to help soothe a sore throat (via University of Michigan Health).

A dry cough is not always easy to treat because a small coughing fit can irritate your airways, causing a coughing fit that can be hard to control. That being said, throat lozenges and over-the-counter cough medicine can help keep coughing to a minimum as well as ease a raw throat. A hot shower can also alleviate irritation. If you have GERD or postnasal drip, raising the head of your bed six to eight inches can offer relief while sleeping or resting (via Medical News Today).

For wet coughs, other than resting and drinking plenty of fluids, you may try over-the-counter drugs to help with wet coughs caused by the flu and bronchitis. Treatment for coughing caused by pneumonia or COPD should be administered by a doctor since they can identify what is causing the cough. Your condition may require antibiotics or an antiviral (via WebMD).