Unproductive Coughing During Daytime

Q: I am 56 years old male. When I sleep I don’t cough. As soon as I stand up I have an unproductive cough that goes on and off all day. Any thoughts.  Thank you for your help.
-By: Bob


Looks like there are some factors relevant only in the day time that are causing cough. 

Some of the causative factors may be as follows:

  • Your cough may be allergic in nature. Many people are allergic to certain environmental pollutants or pollens (which are plenty in this season). The body may respond to these allergens by coughing them out. Allergic cough are often dry. Usually, some chest tightness may also be felt with this cough.
  • Dry air is another factor that can cause unproductive, off and on cough. Ideally, the air to be breathe should be a bit humidified. If you feel that the air around is dry these days, try moistening it with a humidifier.
  • Certain medications can cause a dry cough. They include angiotensin converting enzyme (ACE) inhibitors and beta blockers. These medicines are used to regulate blood pressure. If you are currently taking any of these medicines, talk to your doctor about your cough.
  • Post Viral Cough– It is common to have a dry cough for a few weeks after a viral infection. Such cough get alright on their own.


You may take the following measures to minimize your cough:

  • Avoid going to heavily polluted areas for some time. If you have to go, you may cover your nose with a soft cloth.
  • Try steam inhalation at least thrice a day. This will moisturize the inner lining of your respiratory tract and reduce the cough reflex.
  • Taking a teaspoon of honey before bedtime is usually beneficial in cases of unproductive coughs.

Take Care,

Buddy M.D. 

Medical Advice (Q&As) on “What May Cause Dry Cough During Day Time?

  1. Monica Sieklucki

    Im 23 year old. Got mild bronchitis december 2016. My parents got the same problem at the same time. They get over after about 3 weeks. I did not . I still have cough during day ONLY. I took all OTC meds and recomended home remedies. NP prescribed Tessalon pearls , Zyrtec that gave me some relief but not eliminated my problem . I sleep all night with no cough at all. It starts when iI get up. Is nonproductive , dry with varying intensity. Im not a smoker ,No GERD. no postnasal drip, no Ace inhibitors or beta blockers. Tried to humidify the air, no significant diffrence. Does not seems to be related to specific location at home or work. I is annoing rather than cosing any symptoms.No known food allergy .Any idea what it may be???Appreciate any imput Monica

    1. Buddy M.D. Post author

      Your airways still seem to be irritated or inflamed. You just need to soothe them.

      Take no other medication now. Continue with the humidifier in your room. Try inhaling mystified air all the time. You may cover your nose with a wet handkerchief during the day, so that you breathe humidified air.

  2. duguna pradhan

    hello sir,I am 24 year old.i have dry cough during day time only.i one time contact near doctor.doctor prescribed kufdrin syrup,lartodaine (tab), amoxicillin ( tab).that gave me some relief but not eliminated my problem.i am too much before 1 month for my dry cough.

      1. Duguna pradhan

        hello sir, no any tightness my chest but brethneses I felling.brethout time cough coming .night time I don’t cough.only during day time cough.before 6 week in my cough problem.sir I am too much worry for this problem

        1. Buddy M.D. Post author

          You may need some bronchodilator as a part of your treatment. Talk to your doctor about this.

          Also, start using a humidifier to humidify the air around you. Dry air in winters is a stimulus for cough. Warm humid air, where ever possible, is likely to solve the problem.

  3. haq

    I have had a mainly dry cough for the last ten months. It started with cough triggered after dinner in the evening. But steadily has become more frequent and triggered even after breakfast. I have had some heartburn and indigestion. Endoscopy showed inflammatory stricture in oesophagus and hiatus hernia. However, I neither cough at night nor wake up with heartburn.
    Took PPI for six months but did not change.
    I am Diabetic on Metformin and gliclazide.
    I take erbasartan and amlodipine for blood pressure.
    My cough is becoming rather irritating and lasting most of the day.
    Grateful for any suggestion to help.

      1. haq

        Not only after meals. But it is worse after breakfast and dinner. That deos not mean I donot cough on and off during the day.

        1. Buddy M.D. Post author

          Irbasartan may be the culprit. It may give dry cough in at least 40% cases. This is a side effect. You may discuss with your doctor about replacing the drug with a better option.

          1. Anonymous

            Thank you for this information. I did consider Amplodipine which I have only been taking for four years but no effect when I stopped it. I have been taking Irbsartan for over ten years. Could it suddenly cause the cough?

          2. haq

            Thanks. But I have been taking Irebasartan for over ten years and never had any trouble. Could the reaction appear suddenly like that?

  4. Monica

    My 7 years old grandson with asthma has been coughing for 6 months daytime only no night cough. All specialist said all tests are normal so ignore it. But can’t ignore a cough that shakes up his whole body nonstop all day it’s not better after inhalers singular antihistamines. Any suggestions?

    1. Buddy M.D. Post author

      It’s not good to be coughing this way. This just means that the treatment is complete. He needs to be on a nebulizer. Inhalers don’t work for young kids.

      Also, he needs to be given some prescription like, salbutamol with betamethasone combination. See a repiratory specialist for this.

      Read here about the topic-http://buddymd.com/early-identification-management-bronchial-asthma

  5. Liz Leal

    My son coughs only during the day. He has x-rays, endoscopy exams, he had taken different drugs but nothing helps. Where can he go or what drug can he take to eliminate his coughing. He is in his late 20’s. He had allergy vaccinations till he was 17 years old. I am concerned about his health. Please help…

    1. Buddy M.D. Post author

      Let us know, is his cough dry or wet, any breathless or chest tightness, is his cough related to changing seasons, what medications has he taken?

  6. Queeniella

    I have a dry cough which occurs for a week or two and stops…then re-occurs again…it is usually three or so coughs per night….which only stops when mucus forms, what could be the problem

  7. anonymous

    I cough 10 to 15 times in a day with mucus and without mucus. I had MDR TB and my course got over in 2018 but since then I have cough with mucus, is it something to worry about, I had Xray it shows fine, is it a sign of coronavirus since I have been this cough issue since 2018 so I cant literally tell how the cough is exactly be like

    1. Buddy M.D. Post author

      Any fever, shortness of breath, loss of smell or taste, fatigue or any other symptom?

      Is anyone near you corona positive?

  8. Heide Horton

    I developed a cough after losing my 16 year old son. It has been 8 years now. I have had chest X-rays, medications for reflux.
    None have shown issues nor helped, the reflux medicine actually hurt my stomach because that wasn’t the issue but they didn’t believe me. Seems as that’s a go to for doctors who have no answer. There are so many variables with this cough. Anxious, nervous, cold air, swallowing, I could go on.. I don’t cough while sleeping. I feel as it is more of a throat issue than chest. Staying warm ie.. heating pad helps. Could this be pyscogenic? When my mind is deep busy I don’t cough. Please help!!!

  9. Heide Horton

    My apologies, I didn’t mention to above question,,I have no history of illness and am very healthy otherwise. No fever excellent weight. Again no underlying issues.

    1. Buddy M.D. Post author

      Any seasonal variation in this cough?

      If not, it is very likely to be psychogenic. What medications have you tried?

      1. Heide

        Rx reflux med, allergy meds by mouth and allergy eye drops all Rx, as well as inhalers.. I have had two chest X-rays and a throat swallowing test.
        I am not on any medications.

      2. Heide

        Does not matter season only some days can be good some bad. Too many variables for me to pinpoint anything ??
        My apologies again I did not answer this which was your first question.

        1. Buddy M.D. Post author

          Your overall picture does paint this to be a psychogenic form of illness. Psychogenic illness takes a physical form and troubles you the same way as any physical illness would do.

          Healing your perturbed mind could bring you relief. Have you tried practicing any form of meditations or stress relieving regimes?

  10. Mindy rk

    I have a persistent dry cough that is almost 5 mos. Have gone to 3 doctors during the time when i have the flu And have taken their priscription, the flu is gone but the cough remain and is worst at day but not on night. I have taken different cough medicines but did not stop my cough. Am taking losartan for sometime. Have chest xray with a normal result.

    1. Buddy M.D. Post author

      Any fever or running nose? If not, this could be due to some allergen or post flu left over inflammation in your respiratory tract.

      Avoid taking any further medications. Just take steam inhalation 4 to 5 times a day regularly. This would not only moisten your respiratory tract, but also wash away any allergen residing there.


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