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Cough In Children

Cough In Children

Cough In Children

Cough is a very common illness problems, it is a protective, natural reflex that is intended to keep your child’s airway clear. Basically the most common cause of cough is a respiratory tract infection. Cough can be triggered by non-infection causes such as smoke, dust, or infectious agents like bacteria and viruses. Besides, if your child swallows food and it goes down the wrong way, coughing will help to expel food or foreign objects from getting into the lungs. 

The other reason for cough also can include that when the nerve endings in the airways become irritated by something that we breathe in from our environment such as pollen or dust.
A cough may also develop as a result of viral infection. It is to help your lungs get rid of mucus and keep it clear. In these cases, antibiotics may be prescribed by your doctor to treat a bacterial infection.

Precautions at home

If you notice that your child is coughing a bit, it is unlikely that there will be serious cases of cough. So, the parents need to consider these precautions to prevent the cough from getting worse.

  • Do not expose your child to cigarette smoke
  • Children should only take cough medicines on the advice of a health professional.
  • There is some evidence that honey should be useful to reduce severity and duration of a cough. However, children under 12 months old should avoid consuming honey as there may be a risk of a rare condition called botulism which can cause muscle weakness. 
  • Make sure your child is hydrated enough 
  • Avoid foods that make your cough worse such as  pineapple, watermelon, dairy products (chocolate, ice cream), fast food and oily food. 



What is causing your cough

  • Wet cough: When the respiratory system produces mucus to help flush out an irritant or cold and flu pathogen from the airway to lungs. 
  • Chesty cough: Some may think that wet cough and chesty cough are the same. However they are not technically the same. A chesty cough can alternate between productive and non-productive. Some coughs will expel mucus and followed by dry cough due to inflamed and irritated airways that don’t bring up mucus. 
  • Dry cough: Happen when the airways are inflamed or irritated. You may experience a dry cough in the first few days or respiratory infection as the body tries to clear the pathogen out from your airways. 

From an insight, a wet cough might be more noticeable at night when you lie down because of the position when you are sleeping. It can cause the mucus to shift to the back of the throat. But a dry cough can also disrupt sleep, keeping you wide awake and tired. 

When to see a doctor?

If you notice that your child is unwell and you are really concerned, better straight away to take them to a GP for further check up. If your child has high fever, difficulty in breathing and dehydration (not drinking very much) or has fewer wet nappies than usual, you also need to consider taking them see GP.

Usually, the cough will go away within 7-10 days. However if your child has been coughing more than that and the cough is nonstop, it is a sign to go see a doctor. 

If your gut tells you something is off, don’t hesitate to seek professional advice. Parents know their children best, and it’s always better to be safe than sorry.

Cough in children

Cough in children

How to prevent a cough 

  • Avoid spreading your cough to others: Cover your cough like cough into a tissue or into your elbow. You can also wear a mask when coughing.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth because all of these are the entry points of bacteria and viruses will go into your body.
  • Social distancing: Remember when practicing social distancing in the Covid-19 era? Yes it is exactly the same as you need to maintain at least 6 feet of distance from others to avoid infection to other people.
  • Self- quarantine: Stay home from work and/or school if it is possible.
  • Get enough sleep: Fun fact! The lack of sleep can increase the risk of coughs and cold (upper respiratory tract infections). A recent systemic review by Oxford Journals Family Practice in 2021 found a clear link-shorter sleep than expected increases the chances of an upper airway infection. This means that ensuring your child gets enough sleep is not just a matter of their comfort, but also their health.
  • Practice good hygiene: Wash your hands frequently with soap and water for at least 20 seconds with the right technique. You can also use sanitizer that has at least 60% of alcohol to wash your hand.




Cough in Children | AAAAI. (2022).

Cough Symptoms, Types, Treatment and Prevention | Vicks. (n.d.).,with%20coughs%20caused%20by%20viruses.

Cerretani, J. (2019, November 18). When to call the doctor about your child’s cough. Boston Children’s Answers.