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COUGH IN CHILDREN
Children cough when the lining of the windpipe becomes irritated. This happens when a child is sick or when the body is fighting off an illness and making lots of mucus or phlegm. Coughing is a normal symptom of a respiratory infection, but it may be caused by other respiratory diseases.
HOW IS COUGH IN CHILDREN DIAGNOSED?
The diagnosis of this condition is carried out by a paediatrician or a general physician with the help of lab tests that will examine the blood. Particularly severe and chronic cases may require imaging tests and X rays to ascertain the cause of persistent coughing and other symptoms as well.
HOW IS COUGH IN CHILDREN TREATED?
Due to the diversity of causes (etiologies) of a childhood cough the therapies available need to be directed to the proper causative agent. Routine upper respiratory infections (""common cold"") respond best to rest, fluids, and tender loving care. Multiple studies have demonstrated no benefit for the various over-the-counter (OTC) medications. Moreover, a number of studies have demonstrated potential side effects to children below six years of age due to the nature of the medications included in these formulations. Use of a cool mist humidifier may be very helpful for the treatment of the laryngeal (""voice box"") swelling associated with croup. Occasionally a single dose of an anti-inflammatory medication dexamethasone (Decadron) is indicated. Bacterial infections (for example, pneumonia, sinus infections) respond well to selected antibiotics. Wheezing is treated with various inhaled medications, and if there is a concern regarding aspiration of a foreign object it may require removal by bronchoscopy.
GERD may be treated via thickening of formula for infants and/or oral medications depending on the severity of symptoms and complications of acid reflux into the oesophagus. Treatment of rare conditions (for example, cystic fibrosis) utilizes a team approach to control and minimize the course of these diseases.
DID YOU KNOW?
A cough is usually a sign your child's body is trying to rid itself of an irritant, from mucus to a foreign object. Children who are coughing will often have other symptoms, such as fever, runny nose, or difficulty breathing.