31 March 2019
Coughs are one of the most frequent symptoms of childhood illness but sometimes a cough can be troublesome and causes significant anxiety to the parents. There are many types of coughs, which can signify different things. For example barking or harsh cough is often due to Croup and wet cough may be a sign of pneumonia.
The majority of children have brief repeated periods of coughing due to viral upper respiratory tract infections, such as the common cold and it usually disappears in 1-2 weeks. However there are small group of children who develop chronic cough (daily cough that lasts longer than 4 weeks) and they often warrant a Paediatric review.
The key factors in assessment of child’s chronic cough include a detailed history establishing the severity, duration and type of cough (for example dry, moist, barking etc.). Other relevant factors include persistent nasal discharge, choking, vomiting, sputum production and possible allergies.
Some of the ‘red flag signs ‘associated with cough are:
- Recurrent cough lingering for weeks
- Breathing difficulty
- Stridor (noisy breathing)
- Coughing up blood
- "Whooping" sound after coughing
- Blue or dusky color to the lips, face, or tongue
- High fever
- Listless or irritable
Other worrying signs in children with on-going cough include poor growth, abnormal chest shape and respiratory signs such as wheeze.
Finally, the management of cough depends on the likely cause and often some children may warrant further investigations which could include chest X-Ray and various blood tests.
My interest lies in these children who need further careful and systematic evaluation. I offer comprehensive assessment for children with respiratory problems at Spire Clare Park Hospital in Farnham.
You can see Dr Jog at our public open morning where she will be talking on common childhood problems. Head to our event page and book your place today.