I am interested in the mechanism between the dry cough and runny nose (serous inflammation) here. I started to think how Acute respiratory viral infection is causing the dry cough.

The serous membrane, pleura pulmonalis, connects diaphragma to pars basalis pulmonalis. It can be the source of the serous inflammatory response spreading to the nose probably. There must be some source of inflammatory responses such that reflex arches can use them fast, thinking physically.

Assume medication Montelukast (stop asthmatic symptoms), codeine (to stop irritated dry cough) Flixotide (with Montelukast). Assume that there is a diaphragm press on pars basalis pulmonalis. Assume you breath mostly by abdomen 15 minutes in the supine position. Assume opposite-astonic person in thorax. You then feel that you exhale too much - the serous membrane pushing on pars basalis pulmonalis - serous inflammatory response in pleura pulmanalis. The breathing process moves thoracic muscles and thoracic cavity gets shortly extended only little. Negative tensor on lungs i.e. the volume of the lungs is getting smaller. Consequently, a cough reflex arch and sympaticus start a deep dry cough to protect lungs.

Characteristics of the pathway against Acute respiratory viral infection

  • serous inflammation on pleura pulmonalis
  • serous membrane pleura pulmonalis presses on pars basalis pulmonalis
  • negative tensor on lungs
  • cough reflex arch and sympaticus
  • dry cough
  • positive gradient on the pleura spreads inflammatory response through the surrounding lymphatic system is sensed as dry in larynx
  • negative gradient is sensed on the nasal mucosa membranes as serous inflammation (runny nose)

Can the serous inflammation of plera pulmonalis cause a deep dry cough and runny nose? The cause of this inflammatory response can then be Acute viral respiratory infection in some part of the lungs.


1 Answer 1


If serous inflammation produces a large amount of serous fluid this leads to lung compression and limitation of respiratory movement. This, as you said produces dry cough by means of reflex arch.

However lung compression leads to alveolar collapse or atelectasis through pleural effusion. After atelectasis, pneumonia can develop quickly as a complication.

And nasal congestion is a symptom of pneumonia. Also if pneumonia develops, the cough, initially dry and reflex, will turn to cough with mucus expectoration.

Cough stimulates nasal congestion when it brings up mucus from the lungs and extends the alveolar inflammation up to the nose by taking and concentrating all the bacteria in the upper airway (pharynx and larynx bacteria gets in the nasal sinuses) - and in case of bacterial pneumonia mucus also contains the etiologic agent of that pneumonia (so not only from the upper airway).

  • 1
    $\begingroup$ Thank you for your clear and logical answer! I think the atelectasis which I just described above is caused due to lack of movement in the supine position. Change of position seems to be its best way of prevention. That is a logical. Medically inhibited, cough can start again by atelectasis. Atelectasis is a respond to the congestion in the lungs. Atelectasis seems to be tied to the reflex arch because Codeine blocks the cough center. $\endgroup$ Commented Apr 30, 2014 at 14:22
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    $\begingroup$ @Masi Yes, change of position and deep breathing are the best ways to prevent atelectasis (and also treat atelectasis without airway blockage). $\endgroup$
    – Cornelius
    Commented Apr 30, 2014 at 14:27

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