A chronic cough is defined as one that lasts eight weeks or longer. More than simply an annoyance, a lingering cough can disrupt your child’s sleep and affect their school work. It may be accompanied by other symptoms such as wheezing, shortness of breath, runny nose, congestion and heartburn.
If your child has a persistent cough that doesn’t disappear after a reasonable amount of time, make an appointment with their physician for an evaluation.
What Causes Chronic Cough?
A cough is your body’s way of expelling a substance that is irritating the air passages. When cells lining the air passages become irritated, they trigger air in the lungs to be forced out under high pressure.
Chronic coughing can be triggered by a variety of factors. These include:
- Postnasal drip
- Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD)
- Upper respiratory tract infections
- Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (includes bronchitis and emphysema)
- Pertussis (whooping cough)
- Air pollution
- ACE inhibitors (found in some medications used to treat high blood pressure and heart disease)
What Are the Symptoms of Chronic Cough?
You should contact your child’s doctor if their cough is accompanied by fever, excessive phlegm production or blood; fails to improve after other symptoms have disappeared; interferes with their daily activities or sleep; or they have difficulty breathing.
How Is Chronic Cough Treated?
The doctor will discuss your child’s medical history and give them a physical exam before administering diagnostic tests designed to determine the cause of their chronic cough. An imaging test (X-rays or CT scan), lung function test, lab tests and endoscopic tests of the trachea, nostrils and esophagus are all common.
Once the diagnosis is made, treatment can begin. If medications are prescribed, they may include:
- Asthma drugs
- Acid blockers
- Cough suppressants
Home remedies incorporating lifestyle changes, such as adjusting your child’s diet to eliminate foods that trigger acid reflux, can also be effective.
Call Hebert Medical Group at (337) 550-8530 for more information or to schedule an appointment.