What is a dry cough?

Ohio resident Amy Driscoll told “Tucker Carlson Tonight” she had tested positive for COVID-19 after experiencing severe symptoms.

Driscoll, 48, said she was at work one day when she experienced chest pain, accompanied by fever and a “very heavy” dry cough.

“It was quite the experience,” Driscoll said. “I wasn’t prepared to be sick. When I got sick, I really wasn’t thinking about it, and I went from being, you know, doing my everyday life, and, 10 hours later, I was really suffering, struggling to breathe, struggling to take a deep breath.”


“It was just really quite scary, and unlike anything I’ve ever had before,” she explained.

“My heart was racing. When I woke up from having fallen asleep on the couch after I had gotten home from work, my heart was just racing, kind of all over the place, and I just really struggled to get a deep breath in. My chest hurt terribly, and it felt like I had a vice grip around my chest. It was really not like anything I had ever had before,” Driscoll explained.

What is a dry cough?

According to the WHO, the most common symptoms of Covid-19 are fever, tiredness and a dry cough.

A dry cough is a signal of respiratory illness.

“It has a very consistent sound,” Subinoy Das, MD an Ohio-based ear nose and throat physician, and medical director for the US Institute for Advanced Sinus Care & Research, told Health about the barking or hoarse sound of a dry cough.

A person with a dry cough doesn’t bring up phlegm, according to Harvard Medical School and other health websites.

A wet cough produces mucus.

Dry coughs can be a symptom of many sicknesses—not just COVID-19— allergies, asthma, bronchitis, or a typical common cold, according to the American College of Allergy, Asthma, and Immunology.


A cough you’ve had for three weeks or less is most likely due to the common cold. Unfortunately, this cough—which is mainly a dry cough, with some clear mucus—can persist for a month or more after the rest of your symptoms are gone.

If you’ve got a cough (wet or dry) that has lasted eight weeks or longer, you could be suffering from chronic postnasal drip—mucus that accumulates in the sinuses and drips down the back of the throat, creating a tickling sensation that triggers a cough.

Asthma usually shows up as wheezing and shortness of breath. But in people with cough-variant asthma, a dry, persistent cough may be the only sign. It’s often worse at night, during or shortly after exercise, when you’re breathing cold air or when you’re around an allergen, like pet dander or pollen.

If your hacking appears only at certain times or places, consider allergies or sensitivity to irritants like mold, pollution, or smoke. Think about your meds, too: Up to 20% of people who take ACE inhibitors (for conditions such as high blood pressure) develop a dry cough.