My baby is coughing: how to take care of it?

Baby coughs are often harmless but can quickly irritate your child. To prevent it from becoming chronic, it is important to treat it well. We take stock of the symptoms, the causes and the advice to relieve baby with Dr. Benattar.

Like adults and children, babies can also have a cough, oily or dryness that leaves the airways uncomfortable. First of all, don't worry, all infants go through this ordeal which is quite impressive for parents. Indeed, the cough is a natural reflex of defense against nasal and bronchial secretions, which aims to drain the respiratory tract of the child.

Thus, it allows the evacuation of bronchial and nasal secretions (mucus) which are in the throat. Coughing fits are very common in children under three years old. In infants, a cough can quickly infect the nose and bronchial tubes with other symptoms, such as fever or the common cold, which can lead to respiratory infections such as nasopharyngitis, bronchitis, a cold, whooping cough or bronchiolitis.

What are the signs of a cough in babies?

We distinguish "mostly" two types of cough:
– A fatty cough with the presence of mucus in the bronchi, which leads to congested airways in the baby.
– Dry cough which brings great discomfort to the child's breathing.

When your child has a cough, he will quickly get tired. "which can quickly make him grumpy, disrupt his sleep, prevent him from eating properly and make him sweat all over his body", says Dr. Benattar.

How to treat him?

If your child has a cough, it is enough to wash his nasal passages to ease his breathing. “We clean the nasal passages with physiological serum several times a day, for 2-3 days”. Be careful, if the cough is combined with other symptoms such as fever, reflux or a cold, it can turn into a respiratory tract infection. If your child's condition does not improve, it is best to see a doctor. “In most cases, he will prescribe baby medicine to lower body temperature”.

Finally, if the symptoms still do not pass, the pediatrician will advise you to take a sample to determine the cause of the disease in order to offer a more suitable treatment. As a reminder, the cough can persist for 2 to 3 weeks, before completely disappearing.

Certain factors can also favor the onset of cough, such as the temperature of the child's room. In general, the temperature of the baby's room should be between 18 to 20 degrees, to prevent it from getting too hot or too cold. Also remember not to cover it too much during the day or at night. Regarding the milk, care must be taken that it is not too hot, to avoid irritating the throat. If you smoke inside your home, this habit should be banned. This is because the smell of tobacco can interfere with your baby's breathing. And finally, give your child plenty of water to drink to avoid irritation to his mouth and throat.

What are the risks ?

If the cough is treated quickly, it will go away within 2 to 3 days. However, if this respiratory discomfort is accompanied by other symptoms, it can quickly turn into an infection such as nasopharyngitis, also called rhinitis or cold, a mild viral infection, which is characterized by a discharge from the nose that can last a few days, possibly accompanied fever. “When the child coughs and the cough is accompanied by other symptoms, it could be nasopharyngitis. To avoid any risk to the baby's health, you must consult your doctor to adapt the treatment ", says Dr Benattar.

The cough can also turn into respiratory bronchiole which is characterized by inflammation of the baby's bronchi. But also in laryngitis, an inflammation of the larynx at the level of the vocal cords; in sinusitis, an inflammation of the mucous membranes that cover the inside of the sinuses. Even, in the worst case, pneumonia, an acute infection that affects the lungs; in whooping cough, a very contagious respiratory disease characterized by severe coughing fits or the coronavirus.

Simple cough or infant asthma?

Babies can have an asthma attack after an episode of nasopharyngitis. Asthma in infants is characterized by difficulty breathing at night, comparable to the symptoms of bronchiolitis. Thus, the baby has a dry cough that occurs suddenly with rapid and difficult breathing. "He can also struggle to breathe: on inspiration, the spaces between his ribs and above his collarbones widen, and his chest is distended even when he exhales. He is very pale, his lips as well as his fingers can. turn blue. He eats and drinks with difficulty, he is tired ", recall the improved site. If your baby has one or more of these symptoms, see your pediatrician immediately or call the emergency room.

Nevertheless, asthma can also be characterized by less recognizable symptoms, says the améli site:
– "Wheezing without coughing, persistent apart from seizures, without repercussions on the child's general condition or activity
– An exercise-induced cough (when the baby is walking or agitating)
– A cough occurring at night
– A chronic cough or recurrent episodes of coughing
– A persistent cough after bronchiolitis "

My baby is still coughing, could it be the coronavirus?

The health of infants is very fragile, with the covid-19 pandemic, your child may show symptoms of this virus. But before doing the tests, it is important that parents ask who the child may have been in contact with. Whether it is family, friends or even other children with covid or just healthy carriers of the disease. "If it is a very young baby, a nasal swab may be prescribed by the pediatrician". But rest assured, "in most cases, it is simply a cough which disappears in a few days and which is treated with a good washing of the nose morning and evening". Depending on the age of your child, "the pediatrician may prescribe drugs and syrup to swallow by mouth."

For more information on baby coughs, go here.

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