Why is My Child Coughing?

Explore the Different Causes of Chronic Cough in Children and When to Get Help from an ENT Doctor 

As a parent, there’s nothing more concerning than hearing your child cough repeatedly, day after day. While an occasional cough is usually no reason for alarm, a persistent or chronic cough could signal an underlying issue that may require medical attention. In this post, we’ll explore some common causes of chronic cough in children, ways to manage it at home, and how the Ear, Nose, and Throat (ENT) specialists at The ENT & Allergy Centers of Texas can provide comprehensive evaluations and treatment options.

Common Causes: What Could Be Behind A Persistent Cough? 

There are multiple reasons why a child might develop a chronic cough. Some of the common causes include:    

  • Allergies: Environmental allergens like pollen, pet dander, or dust can irritate the respiratory tract. 
  • Asthma: This condition often manifests with symptoms like coughing, especially at night or after physical activity. 
  • Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease (GERD): In some children, stomach acid can flow back into the esophagus, triggering a chronic cough. 
  • Environmental Factors: Secondhand smoke or polluted air can contribute to chronic cough as well.  
  • Enlarged Adenoids: this tissue situated in the back of the nose can become inflamed and can also cause nasal congestion, mouth breathing and post nasal drainage   

At-Home Management: What Can You Do? 

Before rushing to the doctor, there are a few things you can try at home to alleviate your child’s cough: 

  • Keep the air moist with a humidifier to help relieve throat irritation.
  • Try Saline nasal sprays to moisten the nose. 
  • Ensure your child stays hydrated, as fluids can help thin mucus.
  • Use honey (for children over one year old) to soothe the throat. 

When to Consult a Pediatric ENT: Time for Professional Help 

If your child’s cough persists for more than two weeks, worsens despite home remedies, or is accompanied by other symptoms like fever, breathing difficulties, or weight loss, it’s time to seek medical help. The ENT experts at The ENT & Allergy Centers of Texas can be an important part of your care team, performing a thorough examination, which may include tests like a nasal endoscopy, X-rays, or allergy screenings to diagnose the cause of the cough accurately. 

Treatment Options: What’s Next? 

Treatment for chronic cough depends on the underlying cause. For allergies, antihistamines may be prescribed. Asthma may require inhaled steroids or other medications. Infections could require antibiotics, and lifestyle changes are usually advised for GERD. Sometimes surgery may be needed if it is due to enlarged and inflamed adenoids. Sometimes, a multipronged approach may be needed to tackle the issue effectively. 

Long-Term Outlook: Continuous Monitoring and Care 

Chronic cough isn’t typically a one-time issue; it may require ongoing care and lifestyle modifications. For instance, asthma management involves a regularly updated action plan. Allergic triggers may need to be identified and avoided. Hence, long-term follow-up care is often crucial for managing chronic cough effectively. 

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