Dry Cough and Sore Throat

If a dry cough is accompanied by a sore throat, then it can be a symptom of several conditions, right from bacterial and viral infections of the respiratory tract to acute bronchitis. Find out the causes, treatment, and a few home remedies for sore throats and dry cough, in this HealthHearty article.
HealthHearty Staff
Last Updated: Apr 3, 2018
Sometimes, a sore throat can be accompanied by cough, which can be productive or non-productive. A non-productive cough is also known as a dry cough, which can be identified by the absence of phlegm or sputum production, unlike a productive cough.

Sometimes, a sore throat and dry cough can occur simultaneously, while at other times, a dry cough can follow a sore throat. This condition can be alleviated or treated effectively once the underlying cause/causes are discerned. So, let's find out the factors or conditions that can cause a sore throat and dry cough.
Possible Causes
Common Cold and Flu
Flu and the common cold are infections of the upper respiratory tract, and so, both can affect the throat, besides producing a host of other symptoms. Both common cold and influenza or flu are viral illnesses that can cause a sore throat, fever, a runny nose, muscle aches, headaches, and a dry, hacking cough. The dry cough caused by upper respiratory infections can give you a feeling of something being stuck in the throat.
Mononucleosis
Also known as the 'kissing disease', mononucleosis spreads through contact with the saliva of the infected individual. This viral disease is characterized by fever and enlarged lymph nodes, especially in the neck and the armpits. This infectious disease can also cause swollen tonsils, fatigue or malaise, skin rash, and headaches. Mononucleosis is caused by the Epstein-Barr virus, and is more common in teenagers and young adults.
Pharyngitis
Pharyngitis is the infection or inflammation of the pharynx or the back of the throat. The affected individual can experience a sore throat, scratchiness in the throat, and difficulty in swallowing. Sometimes, a fever, a runny nose, headaches, and body aches can also be experienced. However, the most common symptom of this condition is a sore throat, which can be accompanied by a dry cough at times. Pharyngitis can be caused by both viral and bacterial infections.
Laryngitis
The inflammation of the larynx or the voice box is referred to as laryngitis. It can be caused by upper respiratory infections or an overuse of the voice box by singing or shouting. A dry and sore throat, hoarseness or loss of voice, and cough are the common symptoms of this condition. Children can experience croup, a type of hoarse, barking cough due to laryngitis.
Acute Bronchitis
Acute bronchitis can also start with a dry cough, which is then followed by the production of a small amount of white or yellow sputum, wheezing, a sore throat, fever, shortness of breath, and a burning sensation in the chest. Bronchitis refers to the inflammation of the mucous membranes of the bronchi. Bronchitis can be acute or chronic. Acute bronchitis is usually caused by viral or bacterial infections, while chronic bronchitis is caused by smoking or long-term occupational exposure to irritating fumes or dust.
Other Causes
A sore throat and dry cough can also be associated with smoking, inhalation of foreign particles or irritants, sinus infections, and postnasal drip. In postnasal drip, the nasal mucosa produces excess mucus, which then accumulates in the throat or back of the nose. This can cause a sore throat and cough. Apart from these, gastroesophageal reflux disease can produce soreness in the throat and a dry cough, besides causing difficulty in swallowing.
Treatment of Dry Cough and Sore Throat
The treatment of these two conditions depends on the underlying causes. If these are caused by bacterial infections, then antibiotics can be used. Cough suppressants and throat lozenges can also help reduce the soreness in the throat.
If postnasal drip is responsible for causing a sore throat, it can be relieved with the help of decongestants. If the pain in the throat is unbearable, you can take painkillers under the supervision of your physician.
Along with medications, a few simple home remedies can also help reduce coughing and throat soreness. For example, you can use slightly warm saline water to gargle your throat two to three times a day.

Another home remedy for these two conditions is lemon juice. Add a few drops of honey to it and drink the mixture. You can also mix about 1 to 2 teaspoons apple cider vinegar in a glass of water, and drink the mixture to get relief from the soreness.

Tea prepared with lemon, cayenne, honey, and apple cider vinegar can also provide relief in throat soreness. Ginger and chamomile tea can also be taken to get relief from a sore and dry throat.

Increase your fluid intake to speed up the recovery from viral infections like cold and flu. Drink slightly warm water and soups, which will help thin the mucus and facilitate its expulsion.

Steam inhalation is another effective remedy for a sore throat. It can help clear up the nasal passage, and promote the expulsion of mucus.
One also needs to take enough rest, and follow a healthy and balanced diet to accelerate the healing process. Many times, installing a humidifier can also provide some relief. But if your cough and throat soreness persist for several days, or if these are accompanied by a high-grade fever, severe pain in the throat, rash, enlarged or swollen lymph nodes in the neck, and blood in saliva, be sure to evaluate the condition immediately with the help of your physician.
Disclaimer: This article is for informative purposes only, and should not be considered as a substitute for professional medical advice.