What are the things you need to know about a baby cough? You need to know that one of the early symptoms of a poor health condition in a child is a cough and most of the time; it could be disturbing, debilitating, and even deadly if no homemade remedies and medical assistance are provided for the baby on time. Every mom dreads baby cough issues as it can knock the child off balance and affects his eating, sleeping, and playing habits as well.
On the other hand, experts have concluded that coughing is also necessary to enhance reflex actions that will help in decongesting mucus accumulating in the nasal cavities and lungs respectively. Additionally, this decongestion will promote an easy passage of air into the lungs.
You should also know the types of coughs affecting babies, their causes, and the ideal medications the child needs to stay healthy.
Table of Contents
- Types of Baby Coughs
- 1. The Dry Cough
- 2. The Hoarse Cough
- 3. The Phlegmy Cough
- 4. Barking Cough
- 5. Gross Cough
- 6. The wheezing Cough
- 7. The whooping Cough
- 8. Baby Coughs in Sleep
- 9. Baby Fake Cough
- What Can Really Make a Baby Cough?
Types of Baby Coughs
If you can really understand the types and symptoms of these coughs as expressed in this article, you will actually know what to do whenever an attack occurs, to either call a doctor or use home remedies for baby coughs straightaway. Types of baby coughs include:
1. The Dry Cough
A dry cough in a baby is often regarded as a nighttime cough because it gets to its peaks at nights and makes the baby cough in sleep.
This condition occurs with the inflammation and irritation of the air passageways due to allergies or cold affecting the child. In this case, the child could be coughing with no sign of phlegm or mucus being released. In severe cases, a child’s daily routines such as sleeping, eating, and even playing will be greatly affected. You will notice that your child is very irritable and temperamental.
Some common causes of a dry cough include coldness, Irritants, influenza, pertussis, gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), and asthmatic attacks.
Coldness due to a viral infection affecting the lungs and air passageways can cause irritation in the throat. Treatment for coldness is by using some home remedies for a baby cough such as ointments or having a warm shower.
One of the causes of a dry cough is irritants resulting from environmental pollution such as smoking, fumes, etc. However, moving your baby away from such pollution is necessary to reduce irritation. Using cool mist humidifiers and avoiding the spraying of perfumes and deodorants too is necessary to prevent an occurrence.
Influenza is a virus that causes a dry cough in babies leading to a dry cough. You can treat this ailment by giving the baby a good meal, sufficient fluids, and enough rest but avoid the use of antibiotics except otherwise prescribed by your doctor.
Pertussis can also cause a dry cough and it is an infection attacking a child’s respiratory tract causing choking and irritation. Consult your pediatrician for intravenous antibiotics and in severe cases, we suggest hospitalization and administration of corticosteroid intravenously too.
Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease (GERD)
A baby may experience a dry cough when the contents of the stomach including enzymes and acids flow backward to the esophagus instead of remaining in the stomach. GERD may cause a burning sensation and irritation in the airways including the throat leading to dry coughing. If this happens, contact your doctor for possible medications that can reduce the effects of the reflux in your baby’s system.
Experts have affirmed that ‘asthma’ is the major cause of this condition because mucus in the lungs can provoke coughing and other breathing difficulties. Therefore, be watchful because exercises can trigger a dry cough in a baby leading to an asthmatic attack as well.
A very good symptom of asthmatic condition could be noticed if the chest usually caves in whenever the child is breathing. Moreover, if you observe that the child is having trouble with breathing or incapable of eating, drinking, and even speaking, then you should know that an asthmatic attack is imminent.
Consult your healthcare provider immediately if you suspect this attack. The doctor may decide to examine the functions of the lungs by conducting a medical examination for your child. If the child is up to six years old, he may be required to blow into a testing tube. Additionally, if the child is younger, healthcare providers may rely on reports and information about the family history to know if there were asthmatic patients or persons with allergies of any kind in the family.
After diagnosis and consultation, children with severe or moderate cases may be subjected to a daily intake of preventive drugs while mild cases may be treated by inhaling a bronchodilator medication.
2. The Hoarse Cough
This type of a cough is also known as ‘a miserable cough’, which is a communicable and contagious illness. It is transferred through the droplets of mucus that come out during sneezing and coughing.
When you notice that the child looks weak and fainting with aching muscles, fever, and snorting, he could be under the influence of an influenza virus.
A hoarse cough occurs as a result of the attacks of an influenza virus on the respiratory organs. However, a child could have this ailment for some days but it will not be easily noticeable by the parents because the flu has a usually long incubation period during which it could spread from one person to another.
Home Remedies and Medication
If you want to help your baby out of this attack, ensure to administer ibuprofen for children older than six months. You can also give him or her good food or even milk in order to alleviate the feverish conditions. Another good medication to be used for the treatment of a hoarse cough is acetaminophen and you can even give the patient enough fluids to relieve the symptoms significantly. Most importantly, injecting your baby with the ‘flu vaccine’ is a better way to stay out of trouble.
3. The Phlegmy Cough
If your baby’s cough is full of phlegm and mucus, then you can say he has a phlegmy cough.
Does your child have a poor appetite, watery eyes, sore throat, and a runny nose? If you observe your baby with these symptoms, he could have contacted a phlegmy cough. Remember that viruses cause common colds and if your baby has a fever and stubborn snot, then it could be a bacterial sinus infection leading to a phlegmy cough.
This type of a cough is caused by a common cold with the tendency to last for about two weeks but very contagious too. The National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases have postulated that babies usually suffer an average of ten colds in a year with most of the attacks during the winter seasons.
You can help your baby to inhale vapor rub on a towel as this can help to clear mucus in the nostrils. Another solution is by using a bulb syringe and saline drops to remove mucus from his nostrils, especially if the child is too tender to suction or blow his nose and this can prevent her from coughing. Lastly, you can give your kid a warm bath using a cool-mist humidifier, which can help to relieve the stress of congested nasal organ.
4. Barking Cough
This is a viral illness, affecting children in the ages of six months to four years and causing soreness or inflammation in the windpipe and voice box. You will observe a barking cough mostly between the months of October and March every year. However, the cough relieves the child during the daytime but comes back during night hours.
When you notice your child just developed a stuffy nose, especially in the night while asleep, this could result in a barking sound as he struggles to normalize his breath.
A virus attacking the trachea and larynx respectively causes this condition. Due to the effects of this ailment in the airways, the child could be making a whistling sound whenever he breathes in air. This high-pitched noise is called ‘stridor’
Home Remedies and Medications
Cold air can help to relax the airways, therefore, whenever you notice your child making a barking sound, then; carry him outside for a refreshing breath. On the other hand, warm moist air can aid the breathing system too. You can take your child for a hot shower in a steamy bathroom and sit there for about twenty minutes as this has the potential of decongesting the nostrils enabling him to breathe well. For severe and mild cases, your doctor may give your child oral steroids and only a dose will end the troubles of croup`. Giving your child enough liquids to drink is ideal too, and even using a cool-mist humidifier in his room will surely help to relieve the condition. Furthermore, you can call 911 if your baby is having a poor breath or stridor lasting for over five minutes.
5. Gross Cough
Coldness can make your child develop a gross cough through the activities of viruses and bacteria. In this case, the cough becomes wet and full of mucus, even the situation can get worse if not properly handled leading to pneumonia.
Is your baby breathing faster than normal? If your baby is breathing faster than the normal rate, this could be a symptom that he has a gross cough.
Viruses and bacteria are the causes of a gross cough. These microbes can attack the larynx and lungs filling them with fluids and this will result in a gross cough as the baby makes serious attempts to get the fluid or mucus out of his lungs through coughing. This condition becomes severe and could lead to pneumonia if the child is not treated on time.
Home Remedies and Medication
In order to diagnose the issues of a gross cough properly, the doctor needs to perform an X-ray on the child and even carrying out an oxygen saturation test. This examination is done by using a bandage and wrapping around the finger of your child and it will help to detect a low level of oxygen.
However, after the medical examination, if the healthcare provider finds out that the pneumonia is viral, it should be treated using home remedies for a baby cough such as by giving the child enough water to drink, feeding the baby with nourishing meals, and using a mist humidifier. On the other hand, if it is bacterial and severe, antibiotics should be administered to the child for a proper treatment and in most cases, the patient may be hospitalized until there is an improvement in health condition.
6. The wheezing Cough
A baby wheezing cough develops if the child is attacked with bronchiolitis and then, small bits of sticky or dried mucus in the nostrils will cause a wheezing sound as he makes an effort to breathe. Therefore, if the bronchioles, which are the tiniest air passageways in the lungs, are infected, it will cause inflammation and swelling. These organs will be filled with mucus making it difficult for the child to breathe in the air leading to coughing in order to clear the airways systematically.
The symptoms of baby wheezing cough are irritability, whistling sound, and rapidness in breathing. When your baby manifests these symptoms obviously, he has contacted a wheezing cough.
A baby wheezing cough could be caused by some factors such as bronchiolitis, asthma, allergies, and respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) but you can only detect the actual cause of this condition by using a stethoscope.
This is an infection of the lower respiratory system and very common in babies during the winter seasons. Viruses cause inflammations of the bronchioles in the lungs leading to congestions and blockades of the nasal cavity and subsequently cough. With this development, it will be difficult for the child to breathe well.
When your child manifests a wheezing cough, it could also be an indication of an asthmatic attack. According to experts, if there is a history of asthma in the family, then there is the likelihood that some of the children may have it. Although a single incident of a wheezing cough does not mean that the child is asthmatic unless there are a constant occurrence and repetitive attacks. That is when to call a doctor, who can conduct medical tests and administer asthmatic drugs accordingly.
Mucus can accumulate in your baby’s airways because he cannot blow it out. These allergies enhance the production of phlegm in the body.
Respiratory Syncytial Virus (RSV)
Another major cause of baby wheezing cough is a respiratory syncytial virus (RSV), which is most common in infants during the winter season.
Consult your doctor straight away, if you noticed this malaise in your child for proper prescriptions. Howbeit, babies don’t need to undergo series of medical tests such as blood tests and even chest X-rays. You can support your child to get rid of this condition by encouraging an intake of enough water and rest. Moreover, you may not subject your baby to undergo treatments such as steroids, antibiotics, and even bronchodilators. Rather in severe occurrences, your child may need to be hospitalized for a careful medical supervision and proper administration of fluids and oxygen but subject to your doctor’s prescriptions.
7. The whooping Cough
Does your baby have coughing fits? If your child is having coughing fits and coughs repeatedly in one breath, even encounters trouble in breathing, then, she might have had a cold for more than one week. In most cases, the coughing will be making a striking whooping sound as she attempts breathing in air. Do you know that babies under six months old are greatly in danger of whooping cough infections? Infants below six months are at the risks of being attacked by this malady because their lungs have not been fully developed to handle the strenuous impact of the infection and they cannot manage the whooping effect in their body systems. Hence, it could lead to death ultimately or other debilitating conditions as the case may be. Therefore, parents need to exercise greater caution in protecting their babies and ensuring that they are immunized properly.
Symptoms of a whooping cough in babies include unending bursts of coughing, vomiting, gagging, breathlessness, and paleness of skin due to insufficient distribution of oxygen to every part of the body.
A whooping cough is caused by pertussis, a bacterial infection on the lining of the air passageways causing severe inflammation and swelling, even narrowing the airways and in some cases blocking it out rightly. The infection is dangerous if the child has not been immunized fully or even immunized at all.
Home Remedies and Medications
A quick solution to the issues of a whooping cough is consulting your healthcare provider immediately and in some cases, infants under six months old may be hospitalized for proper attention and medication. Antibiotics will be administered to the child but another important step that could be taken to prevent an outbreak in your household is by ingesting immune booster supplements and other preventive antibiotics. The DTaP vaccination is mostly given in five doses and recommended for babies between the ages of two, four, and six months respectively. Another age range necessary for immunization against a whooping cough is between the ages of fifteen and eighteen months while the last stage is between the ages of four and six years as well.
However, you need to re-immunize yourself and your children after every five years because the vaccines you take are made to fade out in your body after a period of five years.
8. Baby Coughs in Sleep
What happens when your baby coughs in sleep? Let us examine the various reasons why your child may cough in sleep.
A baby coughing in sleep could be because of various health conditions such as mucus and congestion in the nasal cavity but the process of coughing helps to decongest the airways properly. Secondly, it could be due to the seepage and outflow of stomach contents into the esophagus, which is called gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD). Additionally, cold is another reason why of a baby may cough in sleep.
Diagnosing a baby coughing in sleep is always stressful, a herculean task, and not a healthy condition for babies. It is an awry situation, especially in the nights because of his usual sleeping posture, which is lying and facing downwards.
However, if this condition continues for more than a week and you observe rapid breathing or shallow breathing, consult your healthcare provider immediately.
9. Baby Fake Cough
Do you know that a baby can fake a cough? It is good for parents to know that their babies could fake a cough. Let us understand the reason why a child can fake a cough.
Really, your child can fake a cough. According to experts, it is a preverbal skill every child develops to ask for an attention and care from the mom and babysitters alike. It is a way the child uses to get the mom’s attention to his or her corner. There is nothing to panic for in this case, but just enjoy the fun with your child.
Most babies begin to exhibit this attitude as from the sixth month, a way of socializing with the world around them. In other cases, the real cough may be mistaken for a fake one but here are some of the ways to detect an actual cough at a time. If the child is having a runny nose, nasal congestion with mucus, fever, and unable to eat properly, you should know that this is not a fake cough but undertake some necessary measures and contact a pediatrician to get a relief for your child.And Here is a video about how to handle baby cough at home.
What Can Really Make a Baby Cough?
A cough is a condition that can disrupt a child’s daily routines like eating, sleeping, and playing but endangers his life in severe cases. There are various types of baby coughs such as a dry cough, whooping cough, wheezing cough, hoarse cough, phlegmy cough, and gross cough caused by allergies, coldness, asthma, viruses, gastroesophageal reflux disease, and other debilitating conditions, which could be treated using home remedies but knowing when to call a doctor is ideal to forestall eventualities. However, what can really make a baby to cough is a question every mom needs to answer and be prepared to nurture the children in a decent manner and neat environment.