Three Cough Symptoms in Your Child to Look Out For

Did you know that on average, pre-schoolers and primary school children go through three to eight episodes of cough and/ or cold per year – and that the majority of them get better without complications within one to two weeks?

Unfortunately though, some children’s coughs are not as simple as the rest, and may warrant more care and attention than the common cough and cold.

So, how do we know what’s cause for worry and what’s not? The answer might lie in careful listening. Listening to the sound of your child’s cough can give your valuable insights into what’s causing it. Here are three sound-symptoms you should familiarise yourself with:

1. Persistent wheezing coupled with shortness of breath

If you hear you child wheezing and struggling to catch his breath, it could be a sign of bronchiolitis or asthma.

Seek medical help if your child experiences breathing difficulties when he coughs.

2. Hacking and coughing which occur whenever your child lies down

This could indicate possible sinus infection, which is also known as sinusitis. The cough associated with sinusitis is a result of mucus dripping from the nose and sinuses to the back of the throat.

Sinusitis is bacterial and necessitates antibiotics to treat.

3. A barking seal-like cough accompanied with high pitched, gasping inhalation

Also known as stridor, this may occur if the airway becomes markedly swollen. It could also be a sign of croup, a common respiratory problem in children younger than five. An attack of croup can sound particularly scary, but the truth is that it is rarely a cause for alarm. Children usually get better in a few days with proper hydration and sufficient rest.

Do remember that although your child’s coughing may sound awful, it is in fact an essential reflex mechanism to protect the airway of his throat and chest.

Here are two home remedies which can come in handy the next time the annoying cough spells come along.

  • Honey: A time-honoured remedy for sore throat, honey is one of the easiest remedies to alleviate coughs. Simply mix a few teaspoons of honey with warm water and lemon. The honey lemon concoction is sure to soothe the throat.
  • Salt water gargle: While this may seem too simple to be true, gargling warm salt water provides much needed cough relief. Just mix one tablespoon of salt with around 250 ml of warm water and you are good to go.

Reviewed by Dr John Sung, General Practitioner and Resident Doctor at MindChamps Medical. 

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