Coughs can be dry and hacking or wet and productive. Most are due to viral infections of the trachea (windpipe) and /or bronchi (larger air passages). Most children get this infection several times a year as part of a cold. Remember, coughing clears the lungs and protects them from pneumonia. It gives a dry, tickly cough that lasts for 2 or 3 weeks. Sometimes it becomes loose (wet) for a few days and your child coughs up a lot of phlegm (mucus).
Treating a cough:
- Give warm liquids for coughing spasms. They help relax the airways and loosen the mucus. Apple juice works well.
- Cough suppressants reduce the cough reflex, which protects the lungs. They should only be given for dry coughs that interfere with sleep. Dextromethorphan (DM) is a non-prescriptive cough suppressant. Try to choose a product that only contains DM. Ask the pharmacist to help you.
- Dry air tends to make coughs worse. Running a humidifier in your chid’s room can make them more comfortable.
- Multi-symptom cold preparations are of little value. Use medications that list DM as their only ingredient.
- Milk does not need to be eliminated from the diet since its role in thickening secretions is doubtful.
Call us immediately if:
- Your child’s breathing is labored or fast
- If your child passes out during a coughing spasm
- If you child’s lips turn blue with a coughing spasm
- Your child is acting very sick
- You have other questions or concerns.
Premier Medical Associates PC offers the information on this Web site for general educational purposes only. This information should not be used for diagnosis, nor should it be considered a replacement for consultation with a healthcare professional. If you have questions or concerns about your health or the health of your child or dependant, please contact your healthcare provider immediately.