Oh no! Your little one is under the weather. That crazy cough is getting worse and you don’t know what to do. This feeling is natural and so is that cough! We understand that as parents, we always worry about the well-being of our children, and even more so when they are coming down with something. So, to help you better understand what is going on in your little one’s body and how to help their cough, we have broken down all the details below. Keep reading for all you need to know to stay on top of your kid’s cough!

Understanding a Cough

The good news is that coughing is just a symptom. It can be productive in the healing process, clearing liquid out of the lungs and preparing your child for their recovery. The bad news, in some cases, is that it can signal a larger problem. In the event of a concerning cough, the best thing to do is be prepared and knowledgeable about what is happening so you know when to be worried and when to call your pediatrician for help. Let’s learn more!

Wet vs. Dry

A dry cough in kids is generally a sign of a viral respiratory infection. This sounds scary, but this usually means it’s just the cold or flu! It could take awhile to clear, so stay patient and keep an eye on any unusual symptoms. A wet cough on the other hand, is generally accompanied by mucus or phlegm that ranges in color from white to translucent to green. It is possible that a wet cough is a symptom of a bacterial infection, so keep an especially close eye on your child. If it persists, do not hesitate to call your pediatrician.  

How to Help

Sometimes all a cough needs is some TLC! Encourage your child to consume liquids and keep as hydrated as possible. Water is always good, but sometimes a nice warm cup of tea or water with honey can help soothe a scratchy or sore throat. An alternative for older children is cough drops. Be sure to only offer your child tea, honey, beverages or lozenges for soothing throats if it is appropriate for their age. (Keep in mind that these beverages are not suitable for children under the age of one, and lozenges are a choking hazard for children under the age of four). Another option to help is using saline spray to clear out the nose or turning on a clean humidifier filled with distilled water at night. Please consult your pediatrician about an appropriate cough medication before finding an over-the-counter-option.

When it’s Time to Call 

If your kid’s cough is causing them, or you, distress, it is a good sign to call your pediatrician for advice. But there are some specific signs and symptoms to look out for. If your child experienced an event of choking and has a lingering cough that won’t go away, please notify your pediatrician. If your child is having trouble talking, is experiencing shortness of breath, or you hear whistling or other noises when breathing, you should consult your pediatrician. It is also a good idea to call when the cough has persisted for longer than two weeks or if it continuously interferes with your child’s sleep or daily activities. 

When to Worry

Sometimes a kid’s cough is simple and goes away on its own after a few days, along with the cold, virus, or allergy that caused it to start. But coughing can become worrisome when accompanied by other symptoms such as difficulty breathing, fever that is not improving, skin changing color, and blood when coughing. If you notice any of the symptoms listed in above, or something else that causes concern, please call your pediatrician. Stay on the safe side, and follow your instincts. Your passionate Coastal Kids pediatrician is prepared to help you help your child feel better as soon as possible!

At Coastal Kids Pediatrics, our job is to help you keep your little one as safe and healthy. If you have any concerns about your kid’s cough or about their well-being in any way, please do not hesitate to reach out to us. We are more than happy to assist you with the sniffles, a crazy cough or anything in between!