When your child coughs a lot, it’s logical to wonder what’s going on. After all, children are more vulnerable to diseases than adults. In most cases, however, this is nothing to worry about. However, this can also be a result of a more serious infection. That is why we give you all the information you need in case of a coughing child!
Children cough when the inner trachea becomes irritated. This usually happens when the child is sick or fights an infection in which a lot of mucus is formed. The coughing removes the extra mucus and snot from the trachea, making it easier for the child to breathe again.
Types of cough
The most common causes of coughing in young children are viruses and asthma. These two have similar symptoms such as blockage of the trachea, wheezing or cold symptoms. Coughing and fever in your child can also indicate a flu.
When your child is recovering from the flu, coughing is probably the last symptom you will notice. This can last up to 3 weeks after the flu!
You can distinguish 5 different types of cough: common cough, dry cough and stuck cough, whooping cough and pseudo-cough.
The common cough: it usually develops when your child has a cold. He coughs up mucus easily from the airways. The most common causes are asthma and infections.
The dry cough: this is not mucus. It is usually caused by irritation of the throat by harmful substances or a cold. However, it can also be an early symptom of bronchitis (inflammation of the small airways and lungs), or pneumonia (inflammation of the lung tissue). Asthma can also be a cause.
The stuck cough: it is difficult to cough up mucus. It remains stuck in the throat and airways.
Whooping cough: this type of cough initially resembles a common cold, but slowly gets worse. It can cause your child to suffer from severe, rapid coughing fits, which mainly occur at night. The child can make a yawing noise while breathing, between coughing fits. It can lead to breathing problems, causing the child to turn blue.
The pseudo-cough: pseudo-cough is a virus infection that causes a heavy, barking cough. It can also cause shortness of breath.
Complications: when should you worry?
If your child develops any of the symptoms listed below in addition to coughing, it is important that you consult a doctor, as these may be symptoms of a more serious disease.
- Persistent cough. The cough does not clear up after 3 weeks, deteriorates or becomes slimmer.
- Fever longer than 72 hours
- Problems with breathing, accelerated breathing or asthma
- Puke and and red head during coughing
Treatment: how do you help your child cough?
Does your child cough a lot at night or during the day? Try these treatments:
Provide hydration: give your child enough to drink throughout the day so that the mucus doesn’t get a chance to thicken. Warm drinks and soup soothe throat pain and can also loosen mucus.
Use moisture: Let your child breathe in moist air. This can help reduce coughing.
Provide cool air: when your child is suffering from dry, or pseudo-cough cough, it is important to let him breathe cool air. This will reduce the swelling in the airways, reducing coughing.
Avoid physical exertion: physical exertion can make the dry cough worse. It is therefore important that your child avoids this for a while, until he is better again.
Avoid coughing drinks: rather use natural remedies that reduce the cough and soothe the throat, such as honey or warm liquids.