What is dry cough and what is the difference between dry and productive cough?

Dry coughing is a response of the upper respiratory tract to unrest in its mucosal lining as a result of inflammation. Dry coughing could be spastic or non-spastic.

Dry coughing does not produce secretions. It is tiresome throughout the day, and at times, throughout the night. Productive coughing produces secretions. Initially the upper respiratory tract becomes inflamed, this marks the beginning of dry coughing.

During acute bronchitis, this occurs in the first 2-3 days. Upon the initiation of medication with antibiotics and mucolytics, the inflammation subsides, and simultaneously mucous production begins, which is the secretion exuded during productive coughing.

Medically Reviewed by a doctor on 24 Jan 2018
Medical Author: Dr. med. Diana Hysi