Is Your Child's Cough Dangerous?

Ways to determine what your childs cough means and if you need to bring your baby to see the pediatrician.

As a new parent, it is often very difficult to determine exactly what your child's cough actually means. You do not know whether you are supposed to call your child's pediatrician immediately or not. Some coughs are not serious and can be taken lightly but some coughs can be deadly and may need immediate attention. But if your child does have a cough, try not to panic and you should listen to identify what the cough sounds like before calling your doctor. Being able to describe the cough to your child's doctor will help answer any questions that the doctor might have.

Different coughs usually mean different things. You do not want to blow it off as a cold and yet you do not want to blow it out of proportion by rushing off to the emergency room.

Doctors usually tell new mothers that if the child that is coughing is younger than four months, they need to bring them in for a check-up. Newborn babies do not cough much so if they start, they are probably sick and need attention. Coughing means that the baby is having difficulty breathing and that can be dangerous. Any lack of oxygen can be fatal to a newborn baby.

After the child turns one year of age, coughing will usually mean the common cold. The cough could mean that the child is trying to get rid of mucus or a piece of food. The cough could be from allergies that the child has or it could be from an illness such as an infection.

A cough from the common cold or even the flu sounds like a dry hacking cough. This is usually along with a runny nose and possibly a fever. A higher temperature could mean that the baby has the flu. If your child is younger than four months old, any fever must be reported to the doctor. Just like lack of oxygen, any fever in a newborn is serious.

A cough that sounds like barking is more than likely the croup. The croup will wake your child up in the middle of the night with trouble breathing. Your child will probably sound like a seal. Children that are mostly affected by the croup are five years old and younger. The croup is a viral infection, which causes the airways to swell causing breathing difficulties.

For both the common cold and the croup, you can use a cool-mist humidifier to sooth the cough. If the child does not seem to be getting any better, or some other symptoms start to appear, then you should call your child's doctor. Your child will, more than likely, need a prescription medication to help fight the illness.

If your child's cough ever sounds very mucusy or gurgling, you need to take them to the doctor immediately. Your child probably has pneumonia and will need immediate treatment. Other symptoms that your child will have include green and yellow mucus and fatigue. Your child will be uncomfortable and need a lot of fluids and rest.

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