During the winter season, coughs become more and more common. The problem is, not all coughs sound the same. With the varieties of cough, it is often important to identity what type of cough is occurring so we can ultimately identify the source and possible need for treatment.
The first step in identifying the cough is seeing if this is a new cough or a chronic cough. Some common causes of chronic cough are acid reflux, postnasal drip due to allergies, or asthma. However, acute coughs usually occur suddenly, and often have some associated symptoms. These types of cough may also require more immediately action from your healthcare providers. Some of the acute cough causes are:
Most causes of cough are benign and are easily treated with supportive care, inhalation treatments, or antibiotics, if appropriate, as directed by your healthcare professional. However, keep in mind, some cough "alarm signs" should warrant a more expedited appointment with your healthcare provider. These signs are:
So with all this information what can we do? First, make sure your children are up to date on their vaccines, epically against Pertussis and Influenza. Make sure to seek immediate medical help if you notice any of the "alarm signs" associated with a cough. Last but not least, don't forget about common supportive measures. At night use a cool mist humidifier, cool liquids or tea with honey in the daytime, and beware of cold and flu medication in children, as many are inappropriate based on age.