Kids doctorsKids’ doctors on what to do if your child has a cough

One of the most common symptoms kids’ doctors see in Gastonia, NC is children with a persistent cough. Coughing, unfortunately, tends to be especially bad at night, because it is being triggered by mucus draining from the nose and sinuses. If your child has started coughing recently, there are a number of possible reasons why.

The most common, of course, is a cold or the flu. In the case of the flu, the coughing is more severe, and drier, with less phlegm being coughed up, and can last up to two weeks. In the case of a cold, the coughing is less severe, but can last for even longer. Call your kids’ doctor if coughing lasts longer than three weeks.

Another possible sickness is the croup, an infection (usually viral) in the upper trachea. Listen for hoarse-sounding speech, noisy breathing at night, and a cough that sounds a little like a dog barking. Flu shots, along with the standard diphtheria immunization, will usually protect against croup, and it doesn’t often last more than a very unpleasant day or two. There are treatments for croup, which a kids’ doctor can prescribe. In extreme cases, hospitalization may be needed.

A less common cause of coughing is pertussis, or whooping cough. This is usually prevented with vaccines, but it can easily be recognized by the distinctive sound of inhalation that gives it its common name.

Treating a child’s cough

Over-the-counter combination medicines aren’t recommended for children, and no cough medicines are recommended for children under the age of six. Humid air provides some relief — warm, humid air in the case of the croup. Brief periods of cold outdoor air may also help. (Remember that the air is much drier during winter, and its effect is more pronounced indoors where it’s warmer.) Cough drops are acceptable for children over four years old. Cold drinks can also help, but acrid or carbonated beverages may cause irritation.

If coughing is interfering with your child’s breathing, you should call a kid’s doctor. If your child coughs so much that he or she turns red or purple, seems very tired or is reporting chest pains, you should also call a doctor.

A kids’ doctor in Gastonia, NC

Gastonia Pediatric Associates is a kids doctor conveniently located west of Charlotte. It is one of the first medical practices for children in the Gastonia area, has served three generations of families with personalized care and offers medical advice for parents 24 hours a day. Its staff includes three physicians and three nursing staff. Gastonia Pediatrics is owned and directed by its own physicians. If you are worried about the flu and are looking for a kid’s doctor, call today.