February 6, 2016


Coughs can be distressing for your baby, but they are usually over within two weeks and are rarely anything to worry about. However, soothing a coughing baby can be hard work, and you may have a few sleepless nights until your baby gets better.
What causes coughs?

Coughs are usually a symptom of an infection, typically the common cold virus.
Sometimes, babies develop more worrying coughs. These are:
    Croup, a viral infection of the voice box and airways.
    Whooping cough, a bacterial infection of the windpipe and airways. You will be offered a vaccination against whooping cough for your baby.
    Bronchiolitis, a viral infection of the lungs.
Coughs can also have non-infectious causes, such as asthma.
How will a cough affect my baby?
It depends what sort of a cough your baby has. Coughs can be either dry or chesty. A dry cough is usually a symptom of the common cold or flu. It’s most likely that your baby has the kind of cough that comes with a cold. Your baby may have about eight colds in his first year, while his immune system strengthens.
Dry coughs are caused by the swelling of your baby’s throat and upper airway. The swelling causes a tickling sensation at the back of your baby’s throat, making him cough to try to remove the irritation.
A chesty cough usually produces phlegm (mucus). Your baby coughs to try and remove the phlegm from his lungs.
A cough may also be accompanied by:
    a fever
    a sore throat
    a runny or blocked nose
    red eyes
    loss of appetite
    swollen lymph nodes under his armpits, on his neck, and on the back of his head
How can I treat my baby’s cough?
Over-the-counter cough and cold medicines are not suitable for your baby. These medicines should not be given to a child under six years of age, because of the risk of side-effects.
You can help your baby by doing the following:
    -Make sure he gets plenty of rest.
    -Offer extra breastfeeds or bottle feeds. Your baby will need plenty of fluids to fight off the infection.
    -Give the correct dose of infant paracetamol or infant ibuprofen. These painkillers will help to bring down your baby’s fever. Your baby can have infant paracetamol from two months if he was born after 37 weeks and weighs more than 4kg (9lb). He can have infant ibuprofen if he is three months and older, and weighs at least 5kg (11lb).
    -Breathing in steam may help to relieve your baby’s cough. Try sitting with your baby in the bathroom with the shower on. The warm, steamy air will help to relax his airways. Take care to keep your baby away from the hot water, otherwise he could get burnt.
If your baby is over one year old, you could try giving him a warm drink of honey and lemon. Though it’s best not to give a baby under one year old these drinks, because of the risk of food poisoning from the honey.
When should I take my baby to the doctor?
If your baby is under three months old, it is best to take him to the doctor whenever he is ill. You should also take your baby to the doctor if:
    -His cough does not get better after five days.
    -His cough gets worse.
    -His temperature climbs above 38 degrees C if he is under three months, and above 39 degrees C if he is under six months.
    -He is having trouble breathing.
    -He is coughing up green, brown, or yellow mucus.

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