There are many reasons people may develop a cough with no fever. It can be a symptom of viral illnesses, in which fever may or may not occur. Cough is also caused by things like allergies, asthma or other conditions that affect lung or airway function, certain medicines, fluid overload in the heart or lungs, irritation to the airways due to factors like pollution, or illnesses such as gastrointestinal reflux disease (GERD). Especially when a cough is long-lasting and the cause is unknown, people should see a doctor for diagnosis.
A number of viral illnesses or allergies like hayfever may cause cough with no fever. Common colds, which aren’t always associated with fever, may result in coughing as mucus builds up in the airways. Post-nasal drip from a cold or allergies tickles the throat or causes the body to cough to try to create a clearer airway.
Some people ultimately develop a fever from viruses. Many others seem to progress through these illnesses without one, or they have one for just a few days, but then cough lingers. Any type of respiratory infection or chronic allergies can be prone to developing bacterial infection and eventually sparking a fever. People who develop coughs and then get a fever, especially one over 100 degrees F (37.78 degrees C), should consult with a physician.
Asthma is an illness that inflames the airways and has symptoms like wheezing and cough with no fever. Lack of an elevated temperature doesn’t make asthma benign. Significant compromise to the airways can badly impair breathing and create emergency scenarios. Many medicines can control asthma symptoms and reduce cough. Other illnesses like chronic obstructive pulmonary disease are similar to asthma and can also be associated with a significant cough with no fever.
Some medications used in the treatment of heart failure or high blood pressure list coughing as a side effect, and this will usually present without any form of fever. Congestive heart failure or fluid build-up in the lungs also has coughing as a symptom. A cough from medicine is considered benign, but one suggestive of heart or lung dysfunction needs immediate treatment.
People may have a cough with no fever if their lungs are chronically or suddenly exposed to substances that irritate the lungs. Smoker’s cough doesn’t usually come with a fever, and results from exposure to first or secondhand cigarette smoke on a regular basis. Transient exposure to cigarette smoke or other chemicals is another potential cause of a cough.
Excess acid backing up into the esophagus may additionally explain a cough with no fever. When people have GERD, extra stomach acid may cause conditions like chronic runny nose and some coughing as a means to clear the throat. GERD is treated with acid reducers or suppressants, and reduced acid production generally alleviates coughing.