It’s a common lament of many parents: their child always seems to be sick and has a cough that just won’t go away. If you’re one of these parents, you might not know what’s causing it and when you should take your young one to the doctor. This blog would like to answer those questions.
What causes coughs?
Coughs are symptoms of a condition, not a condition themselves. Coughing is an involuntary reflex the body uses to get unwanted particles or irritants out of our airway. These include dust, liquids, or phlegm after a viral illness.
Coughs caused by colds due to viruses can last weeks, especially if a child has one cold right after another. Children often pass colds between each other, so they may actually have several colds right in a row, rather than one persistent cold. Asthma, allergies, or a chronic infection like sinusitis might cause persistent coughs.
When should I call the doctor?
You should call a doctor if your child:
- Has a cough that lasts for 3 weeks
- Has trouble breathing
- Is breathing faster than normal
- Wheezes when exhaling
- Makes a noisy or whooping sound when inhaling
- Has a high fever
- Is younger than three months old and has a fever or any kind
- Is younger than three months and has been coughing for more than a few hours
- Has a blue color in their lips, face, or tongue, or is coughing up blood
- Is dehydrated
It is not recommended that you give children younger than 6 years old cough or cold medicines. You should definitely not give children adult cough medicines.
“Coughing is a perfectly natural part of life, and in most cases parents shouldn’t be alarmed if their child is coughing,” CEENTA Otolaryngologist Ross Udoff, MD, said. “That said, if your child has any of these symptoms, a visit to the doctor is a good idea.”
CEENTA has 40 ENT doctors in offices across the Carolinas ready to care for your children. If your child has a persistent cough and you would like an ENT doctor to examine them, call 704-295-3000.
Do you have any questions about coughing or colds our ENT doctors could answer? Make a comment on our social media and we will pick one to answer in the coming weeks. Disclaimer: the answers in these blogs should be considered general information only. We cannot diagnose or comment on specific cases. For medical advice, please see your physician.