5 Reasons Why Your Child's Coughing Is A Good Thing
Lots and lots of viruses out there right now. I know so many of you are frustrated with how long your kiddo's been sick, and how much they've been coughing.
Lots of RSV. Last week of the 422 kids tested at Cook Children's, 137 had RSV and six had Flu A.
So there's probably lots of coughing at your house as you prepare for your Thanksgiving travels. But keep this in mind: Coughing is good. GOOD! Here's why:
1. We need it! Coughing helps us to perform the "clean-up" process with each and every cold. If you don't cough, the mucus gets in the chest, and that's how pneumonia happens. So...most of the time, cough is Ok! And you can expect it for at least 7-10 days with colds.
2. Sometimes if kids have a hard cough, they gag and puke. While this is scary, it's OK and sometimes a normal part of the process. Always let us know if this seems to be worsening/happening more often though. Or if your kiddo has a new fever with it, or seems more fatigued.
3. Coughing with viral illnesses (colds) tends to happen more at night and first thing in the morning. This has to do with the physics of the postnasal drip when we lay down, and in the mornings we do a lot of hacking to clean up all the sludge that settled in the airways overnight.
4. Sometimes, people worry about "feeling the cough in the chest". This is often due to how air rolls over mucus in the nose and tree trunks that go to the lungs (bronchi) and doesn't necessarily mean anything is wrong. If your kiddo is happy and playful and otherwise well, let it be.
5. Don't be frustrated if your kiddo coughs up some wet stuff, and then swallows it. People try really hard to get their kids to spit it out - it's OK if they don't. We cough, swallow that mucus, and then poop it out. This is why many people get looser stools with colds (adults and kids).
More watery and goopy eyes is common with colds. Let us know if the eye gets red, is really itchy or bothersome, or the goop looks like thick pus.
Contact your pediatrician if the cough has lasted more than two weeks, or if fevers are happening and they last longer than 3-4 days. Or, if fever appears, disappears, and then comes back.
Also, if a child's cough or work of breathing seems to be worsening over time, probably best that we have a listen to that chest.
Get to know Diane Arnaout, M.D.
Dr. Diane Arnaout is making the move to the Cook Children's Forest Park practice on Jan. 2, 2019. If you are a current patient family with Dr. Arnaout or want to join her at Forest Park, call 817-336-3800 or click here. After 7 years at Willow Park, Dr. Arnaout is making the move to Forest Park to be closer to her children, her husband and her parents.
Dr. Diane Arnaout has been a Cook Children’s physician since 2011. She got her undergraduate degree at Texas A&M University, went to medical school at the UT Health Science Center in San Antonio, and completed her pediatric residency in the Texas Medical Center at UT Health Science Center in Houston. She is board-certified by the American Board of Pediatrics.