Common Causes of Coughs in Children and How to Treat Them
Children are playful and carefree. They’re usually in crowded environments and are around other children often. They also like to play outside. During cold and flu season, however, these activities make them more susceptible to catching coughs and colds. If you find that your child is constantly coughing, they might be trying to expel an irritant from their system. In order to understand the reasons for coughing, you have to be aware of the different types of irritations that affect your child and cause coughing. Below you will find a list of reasons for coughing, and suggestions for how to treat these coughs.
While there are a number of reasons for dry cough, the number one cause of coughs in children is an upper respiratory infection, which occurs when your child has a common cold. It occurs when mucus builds up in your child’s airways and causes irritation in the throat. Children under the age of eight are not developed enough to be able to cough up mucus effectively. When young children have a viral infection cough, the cough pushes drainage from one area of the throat to another. The cough tends to worsen at night and can hinder your child from sleeping. OTC medication like Cold-Fix can help your child if they have contracted an infection that makes them cough, as Cold-Fix fights to shorten the symptoms of cold and flu.
Asthma induced coughs can be tough to diagnose because symptoms vary on a case by case basis. One of the main symptoms of asthma and coughing includes a wheezing cough that worsens at night, or during outdoor and physical activity. Treatment for asthma and coughing depends on the severity of the case, the individual needs of the child in question, and should only be directed by a doctor. An inhaler may be required, or medication to improve respiration during an asthma attack. Avoiding pollution and secondhand smoke can also help alleviate coughing induced by asthma.
Unlike a viral infection cough, foreign object coughing is caused by an external object that gets accidentally lodged in the windpipe. Any object, like food for example, that does not pass from the back of the mouth into the stomach runs the risk of getting lodged in the windpipe. This tends to happen often with young toddlers who are orally fixated and put smaller objects into their mouths. Older children and adults who chew food too fast or ineffectively prior to swallowing are also at risk of blocking their windpipes. If the foreign object is not expelled or dislodged via coughing, it may lead to suffocation or choking. If you observe anyone in a coughing fit and they appear to have trouble breathing call 911 immediately.
Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD)
Another one of the big reasons for coughing is GERD or acid reflux. Regurgitation of stomach contents may cause an acid reflux cough and should be considered when the more common reasons for coughing have been eliminated. Symptoms in children may include coughing, spitting up, a bad taste in the mouth, and heartburn. Treatment for an acid reflux cough depends on a child’s age, health, and other issues and should be prescribed only by a doctor. GERD is often common in infants and young children and may be treated via thickening of formula for infants and/or oral medications depending of severity of the cough symptoms, and complications of acid reflux in the esophagus. Acid reflux and coughing can also be treated by removing certain trigger foods from your child’s diet. Some trigger foods include peppermint, chocolate, fried, spicy, fatty foods, and carbonated drinks. Another way to avoid acid reflux coughing is to make sure your child eats at least two hours before bedtime, and that they eat smaller meals.
Oftentimes, children have allergies, and allergies are one of the main reasons for dry coughs, itchy throats, runny noses, sore throats, or rashes. An allergy can cause an allergy cough, and symptoms can confuse people into thinking the child has a cold. An allergy test at the doctor’s office will help you to determine which allergens cause coughing. Common allergens include food, pollen, animal dander, and dust. With coughs, usually a nasal allergy is at play. Your doctor may prescribe a medication for allergies.
Wheezing is a common cough and cold symptom, and is usually a consequence of two things – narrow airways that tighten when a child has the common cold, and the thickening of the lining of airways due to inflammation. When your child contracts an infection such as a virus that causes a cold, the airways are restricted and your child coughs and wheezes. Environmental allergies like grass, mold and dust, as well as physical activity may also trigger wheezing. A few fixes for wheezing include the use of a cool mist for the treatment of swelling associated with an infection. You can also treat wheezing and coughing with OTC medications like Cold-Fix, which will help fight some infections that are the reason for coughs, colds and wheezing. Cold-Fix can take care of the problem at the source.
Whooping cough (also called pertussis) is one of the more serious types of coughs. One of the first symptoms of whooping cough is persistent coughing that is followed by a long breath that sounds like a long wheeze. Other whooping cough symptoms include a runny nose, sneezing and fever. Whooping cough is contagious, so it is important to keep your child away from anyone who has whooping cough to prevent him or her from getting it. With whooping cough in infants, call your doctor immediately for treatment options. If your child has whooping cough, your doctor may recommend a treatment of antibiotics, depending on the circumstances.
Now that you’ve learned a little more about the different reasons for chronic coughing, acid reflux and coughing, asthma and coughing, whooping cough symptoms, symptoms of whooping cough in infants, and what causes your child to cough, adequate treatment should be sought from a medical professional to both prevent and cure your child’s symptoms.