What Causes Dry Cough?
Dry cough can have various causes, ranging in severity from 'needs attention' to 'generally fatal'. Finding the true cause means ruling out or confirming each possibility – in other words, diagnosis.
Diagnosis is usually a complex process due to the sheer number of possible causes and related symptoms. In order to diagnose dry cough, we could:
- Research the topic
- Find a doctor with the time
- Use a diagnostic computer system.
The process is the same, whichever method is used.
Step 1: List all Possible Causes
We begin by identifying the disease conditions which have "dry cough" as a symptom. Here are four possibilities:
- Valley Fever (Coccidioidomycosis)
- Pulmonary Fibrosis
Step 2: Build a Symptom Checklist
We then identify all possible symptoms and risk factors of each possible cause, and check the ones that apply:
shortness of breath when at rest
loss of appetite
regular chest tightness
major unexplained weight loss
deep chest pain
rapid pulse rate
... and more than 30 others
Step 3: Rule Out or Confirm each Possible Cause
A differential diagnosis of your symptoms and risk factors finds the likely cause of dry cough:
|Valley Fever (Coccidioidomycosis)
* This is a simple example to illustrate the process
Arriving at a Correct Diagnosis
is our online diagnosis tool that learns all about you through a straightforward process of multi-level questioning, providing diagnosis at the end.
In the Respiratory Symptoms
section of the questionnaire, The Analyst™
will ask the following question about nonproductive cough:
Do you have a cough that does not produce mucus (a 'dry cough')?
→ Don't know
→ Yes, for less than a month
→ Yes, for over a month but less than a year
→ Yes, for more than a year
Based on your response to this question, which may indicate absence of dry cough, recent dry cough or chronic dry cough, The Analyst™
will consider possibilities such as:
Viral pneumonia often produces a dry cough at the beginning. The cough usually becomes worse and produces a small amount of mucus. Mycoplasma pneumonia is associated with a cough that tends to come in violent attacks, but produces only sparse whitish mucus.
Concerned or curious about your health? Try The Analyst™