With the cold season here to stay, it’s important to recognize your baby’s cough — if it’s something an over-the-counter medicine can cure or if a visit to the doctor is already a must. We’ve enumerated the different types of cough your baby may be experiencing and how to handle them. With the Coronavirus still a reality, it’s important that we don’t let our guards down.
According to the American Lung Association, coughing is the body’s reflex to protect the airway and lungs from infectious irritants. Coughing is the body’s way of ridding one’s throat of phlegm, postnasal drip or food that’s stuck on someone’s throat.
1. Coronavirus Cough
According to the Centers of Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), children and infants generally experience mild cases of COVID-19. Most cases are asymptomatic, others get cold-like symptoms like fever, a runny nose, and coughing. The coronavirus type of cough is usually dry (without phlegm or mucus), but wet coughs shouldn’t be discounted. If your child develops symptoms of COVID-19, contact your doctor for guidance immediately. COVID-19 symptoms begin to develop from 2-14 days after exposure.
2. Dry Cough
This occurs when your baby is experiencing colds or allergies. A dry cough actually aids in clearing post nasal drip or irritation caused by a sore throat but at the same time it could also be indicative of a mild asthma. If your child’s dry cough comes hand in hand with chills, dizziness, or exhaustion. Treatment for dry coughs will depend on the primary cause. If it is a common cold, it can be treated by home remedies like warm water or over-the-counter medicine. There may be cases wherein it would be due to the flu, Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease (GERD), or environmental irritants. It is advisable to consult your pediatrician for cases wherein the dry cough would last for more than two weeks so it could be properly medicated.
3. Wet Cough
This type of cough is often a sign of respiratory illness and bacterial infection. It forms phlegm or mucus in your baby’s airways making it uncomfortable for them to breathe and even sleep properly. Recommended remedies for this type of cough include keeping a humidifier on at night in order to rid your space of any dry air, proper hydration, and a warm bath.
According to kidshealth.org, babies below four months old do not have the tendency to cough, so when they do, it’s sure to be serious and in need of medical attention.The same is advised for when your baby of four months and below experiences a fever.
4. Bark-Like Cough
Listen to your baby’s cough, if it sounds like a barking dog, this is already a viral infection that causes the lining of the trachea to swell and closes the airways, making it hard for the baby to breathe. This type of cough affects children under the age of five and begins as a normal cold during the day. This should clear up after approximately three to four days and if it doesn’t, that’s when you should call your doctor so you could be advised of the appropriate treatment.
Most cases of bronchiolitis in babies under a year old are caused by Respiratory Syncytial Virus (RSV). This type of virus may trigger a simple cold in kids above three years of age, but for infants, it has the potential to penetrate the lungs and be life-threatening. Bronchiolitis sounds like wheezing. It comes on after what looks like just another cold, accompanied by coughing and a runny nose. Since baby cough or wheezing is often mistaken for asthma as well. To tell them apart, bronchiolitis is frequently accompanied by a slight fever or a loss of appetite. Bronchiolitis can be treated at home once your baby’s breathing is more stable. All you have to do is give him/her lots of fluids and plenty of rest. But keep an eye on your baby’s respiratory rate – once it gets as high as 50 breaths per minute, this is already indicative of respiratory distress and would require medical attention.
6. Whooping Cough
This begins as a cold that will often last for more than a week and will escalate to coughing fits. In between coughs, your baby will have trouble breathing and will make strange whooping sounds whenever he/she inhales. This type of cough is caused by bacteria called pertussis which attacks the lining of the breathing passages, causing severe inflammation that narrows and may also block the airways. If you suspect that your baby is suffering from whooping cough, it’s important to call the hospital right away since a home remedy may not suffice. If the coughing fits don’t slow to a stop, the infant must be admitted to the hospital so he/she can receive oxygen.
With the cold season here to stay it’s important that we keep an eye out for our children’s health. On top of that, COVID-19 is still very much a reality. Before colds develop into coughs that need medical attention, you may want to consider strengthening your child’s immune system already.