A cough is one of the most common symptoms of a cold or infection in childhood, and is sometimes hard to treat. Coughs can take a while to disappear in children. They usually disturb sleep and daily functioning. They usually cause infants and children to be fussy and irritable. Here is some information about coughs, including causes symptoms and treatment.
The most common cause of cough is a virus, with the cough being a symptom of a common cold virus. The next most common cause of coughing in children is asthma. All other causes of the common cough are pretty uncommon.
They type of cough your child will have varies greatly depending on its cause. a cough that is coming from a cold virus may be loose and bring up mucus from your child’s throat. The mucus is a postnasal drip from the nose that gets trapped in the tracheal pipe. When your child is lying down and trying to sleep, the cough worsens, because the mucus does not go the right way. This kind of cough can linger for more than five weeks, way after the rest of the cold virus symptoms have decreased.
An asthma cough is also worse at night or after increased activity, like exercise. Asthma coughs usually bring along wheezing and difficult breathing.
If your child is experiencing a barking cough, this usually means he has the croup.
A croup cough also increases in severity during the nighttime, and lessens during the day.
Usually a cough is annoying and frustrating for your child and you as a parent, but not a cause for concern. The following symptoms occur, you should bring your child to the pediatrician.
- your child has difficulty breathing
- your child is experiencing a high fever
- the cough is not allowing your child to sleep or function daily
- the cough lingers for more than a week and a half, after the cold has disappeared
Your pediatrician will physically examine your child, investigating all present symptoms. He might order a chest x-ray, to rule out pneumonia or any other serious lung infection.
Asthma can be treated with specific medications, depending on the age of your child. The common cough that follows a cold, usually doesn’t need any specific treatment. Antibiotics will not help in this case, because the cough is the cause of a viral infection which does not react to antibiotics. Usually a viral cough has to be waited out patiently, and will go away on its own. Here are some tips to alleviate the symptoms.
- Make sure child head is elevated in his crib by placing a pillow under his head.
- When your infant is in his baby stroller, try not to recline him, the more upright he is the easier it is for the mucus to drain properly.
- Keep a cool mist humidifier running in his room at night, which will clear his airways as much as possible.
- Honey may reduce the severity of the cough.
You can try to prevent a cough by practicing good hygiene habits with your babies and toddlers. Wash yours and your baby’s hands when you come from public places, and try not to invite other sick children in your house. Colds and coughs are inevitable because they are often airborne. As the winter goes away, the colds definitely decrease.

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Author: Kamran Minhas