Cough in children

What is cough? – A cough is an important reflex that helps clear out the body’s airways. Coughing also helps keep people from breathing things into the airways and lungs that could cause problems.

It is normal for children to cough once in a while. But sometimes, a cough is a symptom of an illness or condition.

Coughs are called “dry” if they don’t bring up mucus, and “wet” if they do. Some coughs are mild, but others are severe, A severe cough can make it hard to breathe.

What causes a cough­­­­­­­? – the most common causes of a cough in children are

  • Infections of the airways or lungs – including the common cold
  • Having an object stuck in an airway
  • Asthma – This is a lung condition that can make it hard to breathe
  • Other lung problems, including conditions that some children are born with
  • Coughing out of habit – type of cough usually goes away when a child is sleeping

Should my child see a doctor? – See the doctor or nurse right away if your child –

  • Is younger than 4 mo
  • Is having trouble in breathing, has noisy breathing, or is breathing very fast
  • Gets a cough after he or she choked on food or another object, even if he or she choked on the object days or weeks ago
  • Is coughing up for blood, or yellow or green mucus
  • Refuses to drink anything for a long time
  • Has a fever and is not acting like him or herself
  • Is coughing so hard that he or she vomits
  • Has had the cough for more than 2 weeks and is not getting any better

Will my child need tests? – The doctor will ask questions about your child`s symptoms and examine him or her. He or she might do tests, depending on your child`s age and other symptoms. There are different tests doctors can do to see what`s causing cough. The most common include:

  • A chest X- ray
  • Tests to check for an infection
  • Breathing tests
  • Bronchoscopy

Is there anything I can do to help get rid of my child`s cough? – Yes, if your cough is from a cold, the croup, or another infection you can:

  • Have him or she drink a lot of fluids
  • Use a humidifier in his or her bedroom
  • Sit in the bathroom with him or her while you run hot water in the shower to make steam.

There are certain things you should NOT do:

  • Do NOT give over- the counter medicines to children, especially if they are younger than 6 years old.
  • Do NOT give aspirin to children younger than 18 years old. Aspirin can cause a life-threatening condition called Rye syndrome in young people.

How is cough treated? Treatment depends on the cause of the cough

  • Some infections are treated with antibiotics, but if an infection is caused by a virus cannot be treated with antibiotics.
  • Asthma is treated with medicines that a child usually breath in his or her lungs
  • If your child has an object stuck in the airways the doctor can do bronchoscopy to look for it and remove it.

Doctors usually do not prescribe medicine that quite a cough to children. These medicines usually don`t work well and can even have serious side effects in children.