Tuesday, April 4, 2023

Chronic cough in children and the difference between it and normal cough

A persistent cough in children and how to distinguish it from a regular cough:

Cough is defined as a natural reaction by the body to get rid of substances and fluids that cause irritation in the respiratory tract, and thus helps to clean the respiratory passages of the individual.

The cough is considered chronic if it continues in the child for a period of more than four weeks without stopping, which requires consulting a doctor to obtain an accurate diagnosis and the necessary treatment.

Distinctive characteristics of chronic cough from normal cough:

Cough duration:

A persistent cough is a cough that lasts for more than a month without interruption, unlike the normal, temporary cough that appears in certain cases of a cold.

Seasons and times of coughing:

Coughing may appear in children during certain seasons and then stop, which indicates the presence of a specific allergy. Parents can sometimes notice an intensification of coughing in their children, especially at night, which is often caused by asthma.

Types of cough:

There are several types of cough that can be distinguished as a dry cough and a cough that produces phlegm

Symptoms of chronic cough in children:

Children with persistent cough suffer from a number of symptoms that may differ from one child to another according to their causes and types, but they can be reduced to a number of symptoms, as follows:
  • The presence of sputum accompanies the cough.
  • Dryness and burning in the throat.
  • Shortness of breath, sometimes to the point of suffocation.
  • Bleeding from the throat when coughing.
  • fever.
  • Weight loss.

Factors causing persistent cough in children:

  • Viral infection: An infection that affects children during the first years of their life and causes coughing, runny nose, and sometimes a fever.
  • Asthma is a common cause of chronic cough in children, especially at night.
  • Allergy or sinusitis.
  • Swallowing or inhaling a foreign body.
  • Congenital defects in the respiratory tract.

Diagnosing a persistent cough:

The diagnosis of a persistent cough varies according to its causes. The doctor first asks some questions to the child’s guardian to distinguish the type of cough and the times of its appearance, so that he can list the causes of the appearance of cough. In case of suspicion of asthma, it is advised to conduct a lung function test for the child.

As for the paranasal sinuses, they are diagnosed based on tomography, which can be relied upon in case of suspicion of congenital defects in the airway. As for the diagnosis of swallowing or inhaling a foreign body, it is done by chest imaging or by tracheoscopy.

Treating a persistent cough:

Based on the results of the diagnosis, the specialist determines the causes of persistent cough and prescribes appropriate treatments according to the patient’s condition:

Asthma treatment:

It is usually done by prescribing air nebulizers to help expand the airways.

Sinus treatment:

The specialist prescribes antibiotics to treat sinus infections as well as decongestants.

Foreign body inhalation treatment:

Surgery is often performed to extract the foreign body if it is proven to be there.