Skip to content

Difference Between Dry Cough and Wet Cough: What’s the Difference Between a Dry Cough and a Wet Cough?

You may see raised eyebrows on your coughing, courtesy of COVID-19 and its deadly symptoms but coughing is good if it is not persistent or chronic. Coughing is spontaneous, it is like a reflex action of our body as it helps our body get rid of mucus from the lungs, harmful toxins, and germs from our body. Knowing why you are coughing i.e., what is the cause of the cough and what kind of cough you are having bits of help in getting the right medication. What’s the Difference Between a Dry Cough and a Wet Cough?

There is two type of coughs- a dry cough and a wet cough. Yes, it is confusing which cough you have, and why you are having it but it is time to clear that confusion. A dry cough is called dry cough as it doesn’t produce mucus or phlegm or sputum. A wet cough produces sputum in your mouth while coughing. In the coming sections, you can find Difference Between Dry Cough and Wet Cough: What’s the Difference Between a Dry Cough and a Wet Cough?

What is the Difference Between a Dry Cough and a Wet Cough

How to know which cough you have or say or explain it to the doctor or the pharmacist? Apart, from sputum or mucus in the mouth while coughing, there is a lot of difference between a dry cough and a wet cough, understand the difference with this easy-to-understand difference table, let’s have look!

Dry Cough V/s Wet Cough

Factors Dry Cough Wet Cough
Intensity A dry cough is usually less intense. A wet cough is comparatively severe.
Causes Irritants like allergens, smoke, pollution, cold, flu, GERD, emphysema, bronchitis, or asthma. Infection, Irritants, or Inflammation, lungs with conditions such as emphysema, asthma GERD, bronchitis, COPD, and more.
Symptoms Sore throat, tickly or itchy throat, headache  running nose, rattling sound in the chest, nose blockage. aches, wheezing, throat pain fever, or fatigue.



Medication Yes, required, and more so if your cough is chronic or even two weeks long. Yes, required

Moving to the difference between a Dry Cough and a Wet Cough, let’s explore in detail about each in the coming sections

What is Dry Cough

A tickly or itchy sensation in your throat that is causing you to cough as you are trying to clear your throat is a dry cough. You will cough with full force but there will be no mucus or sputum. The dry cough is caused when the delicate tissue layer in our throat and airways is triggered by any the factors like allergens, smoke, etc. A dry cough is equally irritating and causes you sleepless nights or embarrassment in public.

Generally, dry cough is not considered a severe situation and can be relieved with medication or not in a week’s time, three weeks can be taken as a harmless time for dry cough but after three weeks if your coughing is still the same, you need proper consultation. Such a condition may be because by any infection in the throat or bronchitis, or asthma.

A dry cough can be caused due to certain allergies, pollutants present in the air, smoking, or other environmental conditions. A dry cough is also known as a non-productive cough as there is no formation of mucus or sputum in it. Along with medication, the use of lozenges, honey, and other warm beverages soothe the coughing condition.

What is a Wet Cough

While coughing if you are observing sputum or mucus or phlegm coming out, in the back of your throat or in your mouth, it can be described as wet cough. The color and texture of the mucus may give more clarity about the cause of the wet cough, if thick and white sputum is produced, it may be the infection and would require proper consultation and medication.

A wet cough is caused by a bacterial infection, inflammation, or irritation caused by something. In the condition of wet cough, you may feel that mucus or sputum is blocked in your chest or moving around inside your lungs. You may experience a rattling sound while breathing and blockage, especially during sleep. A wet cough is also known as a productive cough and is caused by bacteria, viruses, or other microorganisms present in the air or passed through someone with the infected condition like in the case of flu.

A prolonged wet cough may be the symptom of bronchitis, asthma, pneumonia, Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, or cystic fibrosis and require medication and consultation by a doctor.