It is very common for children to cough or wheeze when they become ill. In most cases, these symptoms do not indicate that your child has a serious condition. In fact, coughing is an important reflex designed to clear the airways of mucus or obstructions.
Common Causes of Coughing and Wheezing:
Coughing and wheezing do not necessarily indicate that your child has asthma. Allergies, viral and bacterial infections, and environmental factors can all cause a child to wheeze and cough. Mild wheezing and coughing can usually be treated at home and will typically resolve within a couple of weeks.
Self-help Measures for Coughing and Wheezing:
The first step is to help your child to remain calm and still. Strenuous activity or getting overly excited can make their symptoms worse. You should encourage your child to drink fluids frequently. This will help loosen mucus and make coughs more productive. You should also limit your child’s exposure to cigarette smoke and other environmental irritants.
When to See a Doctor:
You should consult a physician if your child’s cough persists for more than a couple of weeks. Depending on the type of infection, the doctor may be able to prescribe antibiotics. Inhalers or nebulizer treatments may also be used to open up the airways. The following are signs of a medical emergency requiring immediate medical attention:
- Rapid or irregular breathing
- Skin color becomes pale or blue
- Child becomes lethargic
- Refusing to eat or drink
- Breathing is noisy even when not crying
- Child develops a fever
If your baby or child starts coughing suddenly without being unwell, they may be in danger of choking. Watch them closely to ensure that they are able to cough up the object. If a cough turns silent or they show signs of distress, you should take immediate steps to help them dislodge the object. Older children may make the universal choking sign by clasping their throat with their hands.
At Allergy and Asthma Associates of Allen, we offer a variety of treatments for allergies, asthma, and other respiratory conditions that frequently cause coughing and wheezing. Contact us today to schedule an appointment.