Childhood coughs - Health Blog -

Childhood coughs

Maggie Reyes

Coughing is common in children and shouldn’t cause immediate worry. Like adults, children cough to clear their throats and respiratory tract of irritants such as particles, mucous or fluids.

Knowing the different types of coughs often afflict children can help you determine when it’s time to visit the doctor. Coughs that sound worrisome or are persistent are usually worth a visit to the pediatrician.


Dry cough

Also known as irritative cough, a strong dry cough doesn’t produce any phlegm or mucus. It’s very common at the beginning of a cold when there is a feeling of itchiness in the throat. Dry coughs can also be caused by dust particles irritating the pharynx or larynx.  It can also indicate the presence of stress factors. Stressors like exams or fear of the dark can also stimulate the nervous system and produce chronic attacks. Speak to your doctor about “nervous cough” if you start seeing such patterns in your child.

 Childhood coughs - Health blog -

Croup cough

Croup cough is a harsh, loud, dry cough that often sounds similar to a seal barking. Sometimes the child also has a hoarse or raspy voice and a high-pitched, wheezing noise when breathing. This type of cough is usually caused by an infection in the larynx that affects the vocal cords. A mild version is usually treated with anti-inflammatory drugs but if the cough worsens, it’s advisable to take the child for further medical examination.


Productive cough

A productive cough is one that brings up phlegm or mucus. In smaller children, the mucus from the nose or sinuses can easily drain down the back of the throat or may have come up from the lungs. In this case, it is important not to suppress the cough since it’s meant to clear mucus. In this case, it is best to go to the doctor to check if there is an infection.


Whistling cough

A wheezing or whistling sound when your child is breathing is very common in children with asthma. It can also indicate a viral infection such as bronchiolitis when the lungs are swollen. If your child doesn’t have asthma and is wheezing, a trip to the doctor is a good idea.



Before self-medicating your child, it’s crucial to determine what type of cough they have. A reflex, dry cough, and a productive cough don’t always require any medication while the other coughs can be helped with the right medication. Fortunately, there is a number of effective natural medicines available proven to help treat childhood coughs.

Never use adult medication for children and if the cough worsens, it is best to go to your family doctor or pediatrician. All children are different, follow your parental intuition, if it seems abnormal for your child, take the time to visit a doctor.




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