When you put your child to bed and all is well but later you hear him or her coughing—sounding like a bark—what do you do? Is it just a passing thing or is the cough something dangerous? Our board-certified physicians at Medco ER have some suggestions as you decide what kind of cough your child has and what you should do about it.
A wet, garbled-sounding cough that sometimes produces mucus could be caused by a cold. If your child has a fever and runny nose, then this is likely. If it has lasted for days and is accompanied by phlegm, tightness in the chest, and fever, it could be pneumonia or a sinus infection.
“A good rule of thumb here is to watch your child’s comfort level. If he or she is coughing up mucus and is able to breathe normally in-between coughs and is relatively at ease, you can probably wait it out. If the child has a high fever, is wheezing or pulling hard to breathe and is miserable, it’s time to come to Medco ER,” said Medco ER’s Medical Director, Dr. Nasir Khan.
A cough that doesn’t produce mucus and just seems to hang around could be caused by colds, asthma, irritants in the air, bronchitis, Covid 19, or allergies. For chronic coughers, try using air purifiers to reduce dust, pollen, pet dander, mold and smoke.
A cough accompanied by a wheezing breath or a rattling sound could mean that the child’s airways are being blocked or inflamed. This could be caused by a cold, infection, or asthma.
A harsh, barking cough could mean your child is suffering from croup. It is often accompanied by stuffy nose and a fever. The airways swell, causing the voice box and windpipe to become swollen and irritated. A high-pitched, squeaky sound can accompany the breathing in between the barking cough. If your child starts breathing rapidly, struggling to breathe, or has a blueish tinge around the lips, come to Medco ER right away.1
If the cough is a hacking, hard cough that is followed by a strange whooping sound as the child breathes in, it is called Whooping Cough or Pertussis and requires antibiotics to treat. It may include a runny nose, watery eyes and fever.
When to go to the ER
“Any time a cough has gone on and on and doesn’t respond to any common treatments, you should bring your child in to Medco ER,” said Dr. Khan. “If there are any concerning things like a fever, green/yellow mucus, blood, wheezing, chest pain or difficulty breathing, come in right away. Infants, especially, should be brought in right away.”
- Difficulty breathing
- Tightness in chest
- Shortness of breath
- Persistent cough lasting longer than 3 weeks
- Blood in mucus
- Barking cough
- Rapid breathing
- Blue tinge to skin
Medco ER is Open 24/7
When your child’s cough is concerning and doesn’t seem to respond to steam, fluids and cough syrup, Medco ER is here to help. You can walk in any time, day or night, and enjoy our little-to-no-wait medical service. Our physicians are ready to bring some of the best medical care in the area to your child.
Plano: 3960 Legacy Drive, Plano, TX 75023 (on the corner of Legacy and Coit Road)
Call us @ 469-747-0370