One of the most common reasons for taking a child to the doctor is for a chronic cough. Accounting for 30 million office visits annually, in the United States, approximately 5 to 10% of children are affected by this ailment. That may seem like a staggering statistic until you remember that, as a sign of various other health conditions, coughing can frequently be the first symptom.
Chronic cough in kids can be a scary occurrence. But as with most things, if you have a better understanding of it, it can seem a little less frightening. So that improved comprehension of chronic coughing in children can be gained, let’s take a look at some of the most common causes.
Of course, knowing the causes is only the first step. Always consult with a physician if your child has a cough that concerns you.
When Is Coughing Chronic?
When there is an irritant in the lungs, trachea, larynx, pharynx, nasal passages, or nose, the normal reaction of our body is to cough. It’s a result of our airway nerves sending a message to our brain. But once the airway has been cleared, the coughing should stop. Your child should be checked out by a doctor if, for four weeks or more, a daily cough persists. At this point it is considered chronic.
Before looking at serious problems, physicians usually try to rule out the most common causes first. If, after traditional treatments, the cough persists, it’s time to look into more complicated reasons. In some cases, a specialist may be recommended.
The Most Common Causes of Coughs In Children
As suggested, many coughs are a result of something simple and commonplace. Here are the most frequent causes of coughing in children:
- Coughing out of habit – typically, this kind of coughing sounds like honking (if no coughing persists when the child sleeps, it could be habit coughing)
- A blocked airway – when something is stuck in a child’s airway or after a choking event, this can occur
- Acid reflux – also associated with gastrointestinal symptoms such as vomiting, heartburn, and a stomachache
- Aspiration – can occur while drinking or eating or after a bout with pneumonia
- Cystic fibrosis – this is rare
- Whooping cough (pertussis) – a “whooping” sound is made when the child tries to breathe in
- Asthma – chest rattling, wheezing, or whistling while breathing
- Sinusitis and allergies – these are the most common
What If It’s Just a Cold?
When a cough is caused by a respiratory virus or cold, within a month’s time, it usually goes away. However, it can mean something far more serious if coughing persists longer and becomes regular.
Having Professionals Assist You With Chronic Coughing in Children
The specialists at Mind and Body Christian Health Group know how scary it can be when your child has a cough that just won’t go away. For that very reason, we always make sure to stick to our five basic principles when serving the community – including parents of children with troublesome symptoms like chronic coughing. Our five principals deal with providing stellar customer service, providing care comprised of both primary care treatment and mental health therapists, making our services affordable, choosing the best care and treatments (based on research), and providing as many general health services as possible.
It is our goal, when you reach out, to respond quickly and lessen your stress. Speak to the professionals at Mind and Body Christian Health Group whenever you need us.