When To Be Worried About Cough In Your Child
April 5, 2022
What comes to mind when your child has a cough that just won’t go away? Coughs in children are among the commonest reasons for anxious consultations. In this post, we look at what conditions could be present depending on the duration and type of cough.
Updated July 2023
A cough is an automatic (involuntary) action to clear your airways.
When your child is coughing, their cough reflex is trying to protect their airways and lungs.
However, cough is also a sign of illness – some more severe than others.
It is always important to seek advice about a cough from your medical provider, especially if it is frequent or continuous, not getting better or is related to other ill health.
As a parent, you may pick up signs that there is a problem with the cough your child has:
How often are they coughing?
What does it sound like?
How long have they been coughing?
Does it happen at any particular time of the day or night?
Does the cough happen with other symptoms of ill health – like a fever, breathing difficulty, chest pain?
In younger children, there may be a change to a pattern of activity, feeding, sleeping more, rapid breathing etc.
So these are possible observations you could make about the nature of the cough that could give a clue towards its cause.
Coughs can be caused by several reasons – both infectious and non-infectious. The reasons for the cough could also be common or rare.
Amongst the common causes, we can further categorise coughs by how long they have lasted (duration) – this can be in three ways:
These are coughs lasting 3-8 weeks and usually arise from infectious causes.
Chronic coughs (lasting over 8 weeks) are most often of non-infectious causes:
So these are the possible causes of cough in children – and the way your doctor will consider the symptoms to arrive at the treatment.
Remember to discuss any episodes of cough that you are worried about with your doctor.
Seek urgent medical help for coughs associated with:
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Editing by AskAwayHealth Team
All AskAwayHealth articles are written by practising Medical Practitioners on various healthcare conditions to provide evidence-based guidance and help promote quality healthcare.
The advice in our material is not meant to replace the management of your specific condition by a qualified healthcare practitioner.
To discuss your condition, please contact a health practitioner or reach us directly.
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