Even though the presence of cough itself does not warrant getting panicked, certain characteristics with some of the other associated symptoms would certainly require further investigations and to be seen by a doctor.
Why do we get a cough?
The cough is a protective mechanism in which a forceful expulsion of air from the chest would help to evacuate secretions, foreign bodies and thus the organisms which try to invade the respiratory passages. Furthermore, in case the ingested food and liquids changes its course and attempts to enter the respiratory passages for some reason, the cough reflex will act swiftly in expelling these foreign elements from entering the air passages. In order for these to function, the innervations in the throat as well as the cough center in the brain should function properly along with the muscles and the diaphragm that will propel the air in the chest to the outside.
What is the usual sequel of a cough?
Usually, a cough will diminish as the stimulus or the irritant which initiated the cough reflex disappears. Therefore, a cough can resolve itself within a matter of few minutes or else can persist for many months depending on the underlying disease condition. But, the coughs that we encounter frequently will only last for few days and will disappear by themselves.
What are the danger signs in a child with a cough?
-If a child is having a cough and a high fever of more than 102 F and is associated with a fast breathing, there is a chance of it being Pneumonia and immediate treatment should be sorted in such instances.
-If the cough is associated with a stridor kind of noise, which is a noise that is generated when breathing in, it may indicate to a narrowing or blockage that is taking place in the upper airways and this can be due to edema of these passages secondary to a allergic reaction, inflammation or else can even be due to a foreign body. If so, immediate medical attention should be provided to prevent the condition from becoming worse.
-If the coughing child develops wheezing noises, it is significant unless a plan of action is already in place.
-At any time, if the coughing gives rise to a bluish tinge in the lips, tongue, hands and feet; it indicates the inadequacy of inhaled oxygen and thus towards severe respiratory insufficiency. As such, quick measures are needed to be taken in order to provide the child with enough oxygen through artificial means and therefore would require treatment at a medical facility.
-When a child coughs out blood, it should be taken in as significant and would necessitate the child to be taken to a health care facility.
-If a cough gives rise to difficulty in breathing depicted by fast breathing, strenuous breathing, indrawing of intercostals muscles and by the use of accessory respiratory muscles, it should be taken in as a danger sign.
-If a cough gets worse and it makes the child feel poorly and becomes extremely irritable or lethargic, the condition would require further investigations and appropriate management.
Written by anilpriya
Medical Doctor and a University Lecturer
tags: Children, Cough, Danger, signs