Persistent cough is a cause of concern for many parents, as it makes their children restless, hampers their everyday activities, and results in general weakness. The following HealthHearty article lists out all the causes and the treatment usually recommended by doctors to cure it.
Common cold is very common in children. It is usually the result of a viral infection, which also causes persistent coughing in the kids. This cough goes away on its own after the infection has died down. It takes a maximum of two weeks for the symptoms to go away, in case of children. However, if a child has persistent cough and fever more than 102 degrees or, if the cough does not go away even after 3 weeks, the reason could be something else.
Asthma is one of the major causes of persistent coughing in children. It is typically characterized by a wheezing sound. This is due to the fact that, asthma causes swelling in the air passages, which in turn, produces this sound. However, even in the absence of this sound, a child might be suffering from asthma, if he has associated symptoms like, rapid breathing or difficulty in breathing. A persistent cough occurring at night could also be due to asthma.
A sinus infection can lead to chronic coughing. Bronchitis and pneumonia can cause chronic coughing. If the coughing is accompanied by other symptoms, like rapid breathing and general weakness, it could be a sign of pneumonia. Allergic rhinitis is another culprit for the cough. It is accompanied by symptoms, such as, runny nose, sneezing, and itching in the eyes, nose, and mouth. Bacterial infection in the air passages could also be a reason for such a cough.
Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease (GERD)
If, along with continuous coughing, the child has developed symptoms, like a hoarse voice and choking, the reason could be acid reflux i.e., the stomach fluid going back to the esophagus. Acid reflux disease is one of the causes of chronic cough in children, and may result in damaging the lung tissue as well.
Although, cough as a result of a viral infection does not last beyond 2 weeks, sometimes, it may last even after the infection has subsided. A child may also develop ‘habit cough’ after a viral infection treatment. Dry cough is usually due to ‘habit cough’. A peculiarity of this cough is that, it never occurs in sleep, and only presents itself by way of symptoms such as itchy throat and cough.
It could be due to certain external factors, such as passive smoking and air pollution. Sometimes, a child might inhale food or some other material, and this too could lead to persistent cough. Allergy to dust, pollen, pets, can also cause this health problem in your young ones. Certain medications produce coughing as a side effect too.
The treatment will depend on the cause of the condition. In case of asthma, inhalers with bronchodilators and steroids are usually given to lessen the swelling of the airways. Coughing related to GERD is treated by taking certain medicines, which reduce the stomach acidity. Sinus, bronchitis, and pneumonia are treated by taking antibiotics. Certain home remedies include, taking steam, consuming foods, such as, honey, turmeric in warm milk, wearing warm clothes, and drinking lots of water.
Since, chronic cough can be a consequence of some underlying disease, proper diagnosis and appropriate treatment by a doctor is recommended. Although, cough is not something serious in itself, it might be a symptom of some serious disease, and as everybody knows, the earlier a disease is caught, the more effective will be its treatment.