Good Health Choices - - Be Informed -

Coughs are one of the most com­mon – and dis­tress­ing – symp­toms of child­hood ill­ness. How aw­ful a cough sounds isn’t nec­es­sar­ily an in­di­ca­tion of how sick your child is. Most coughs are caused by viruses, and doc­tors usu­ally don’t pre­scribe an­tibi­otics, which only work against bac­te­ria. Un­der­stand­ing the dif­fer­ent types of cough can help you know when to han­dle them at home and when you need a doc­tor’s opin­ion.

» CROUP What strikes at mid­night? A croupy cough. When there is in­flam­ma­tion in the up­per air­ways, your child may de­velop a barky cough, a bit like a seal.

» WHOOP­ING COUGH This in­fec­tion of the air­ways is caused by the bac­te­ria Borde­tella per­tus­sis.

You’ll know if your lit­tle one has it when they’re ex­pe­ri­enc­ing spells of cough­ing with no time to breathe in between. At the end of the cough­ing ses­sion, they’ll make a ‘whoop­ing’ sound when they take a deep breath.

» WHEEZY COUGH When the lower air­ways are in­flamed, your child might make a wheezy sound as they breathe out. This can be caused by asthma or the vi­ral in­fec­tion bron­chi­oli­tis.

» NIGHT-TIME COUGH Coughs of­ten get worse overnight. It doesn’t nec­es­sar­ily mean your child is get­ting sicker – it’s sim­ply mu­cus drain­ing from the nose into the throat when they’re ly­ing down. Asthma can also trig­ger a night-time cough.

» COUGH WITH A TEM­PER­A­TURE If your child is lethar­gic and has a cough with a tem­per­a­ture of 39°C or higher, it could be pneu­mo­nia. In this in­stance, it’s time to see the GP.

» PER­SIS­TENT COUGH Any cough that lasts for more than three weeks needs a doc­tor’s at­ten­tion.

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