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Coughs In Children

Cough In Children

Coughing is a common occurrence in children and is usually caused by a virus such as the cold or influenza. It is often accompanied by other symptoms such as a fever, runny nose, and sore throat. Cough is one of the most common complaints for which parents bring their children to a health care practitioner.

Causes of Cough

Causes of cough differ depending on whether the symptoms are acute (< 4 weeks) or chronic (> 4 weeks).

The most common cause of acute cough is

  • Viral upper respiratory infection

The most common causes of chronic cough are:

  • Gastroesophageal reflux disorder (GERD)
  • Postnasal drip
  • Asthma (most common)


When do I Seek Medical Attention?

 Seek medical help if you observe any of the following:
  • Difficulty breathing (i.e. wheezing, panting, noisy breathing)
  • Chest pains when breathing, in an older child
  • Drooling or trouble swallowing
  • Coughing up blood
  • Child appears distressed and has persistent crying
  • Persistent high fever (especially if your infant is less than 3 months)
  • Persistent vomiting associated with coughing
  • Depressions below the rib cage when breathing. This may indicate the child is breathless
  • Change in colour or sensorium in the child
  • In an older child, inability to speak in full sentences also may indicate breathlessness


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