Child coughing for a long time?

Coughs are extremely common among young children and are usually the first signs of some illness. If the child is coughing then it is actually a healthy reflex that ensures that the airways are cleared of blockage both in the chest and throat. In most cases, you need not be worried as they usually sound more awful than they really are. However, there are some times when you will have to take them to the doctor and if the cough is prolonged it would be a good idea to do so. If you hear a sort of ‘barky’ cough, the child may be suffering from a swelling of the windpipe and voice box. A swelling occurs in the upper part of the airways and the condition is commonly called croup. This condition can be caused by sudden changes in temperature at night, allergies and even viral attacks. Children under the age of three are more susceptible to this condition as their windpipes are very narrow and breathing difficulties may occur easily because they get swollen.

Another symptom of this condition is a change in the child’s breathing, where every time the child breathes in, you will be able to hear a harsh rasping sound. Bacterial infections can set in the airways causing whooping cough which involves coughing back to back with almost no breathing in between coughing spells. A low fever, a runny nose and frequent sneezing are other symptoms of this condition. Whooping cough or pertussis as it is medically termed is a contagious disease and can be extremely severe in children below the age of one. The bacteria that causes this condition spreads through air when the infected person coughs or sneezes.

If you notice a wheezing sound along with the coughing, your child could be suffering from asthma or have a viral infection. The wheezing occurs because of a blockage in the lower airways and this can also be caused by a foreign object. If the cough is accompanied by a fever of about 102 to 103 degrees, a runny nose and the child is breathing really fast, it may be a sign of pneumonia and you must consult the child’s physician immediately. Give the child warm water to drink to provide some relief. If the cough is not serious according the doctor, you can make a cough syrup at home by mixing half a teaspoon of ground ginger, half a teaspoon of freshly ground pepper and a tablespoon each of vinegar and honey. Add about three teaspoons of water and keep aside. Give it to the child twice or thrice a day, but before doing so, do consult your doctor as the age of the child and other factors need to be taken into consideration.

answered by G R

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