Every one is liable to get a common cold from time to time, with children comprising the brunt of cases. And it is very common for a common cold to cause a cough, which can linger for up to two to three weeks after the other cold symptoms have resolved. Recognizing when a cough is serious and could potentially be more than just a cold can save your child from prolonged suffering and is an integral part of maintaining your children’s health. Here are the symptoms which parents should be aware of when attempting to determine when to take their child to the doctor for a cough.
While low-grade fevers for a day or two can occasionally pop up with the onset of a common cold, prolonged fevers are an important warning sign of your children’s health. If a child younger than two months old has any level of fever, promptly call your doctor, as fever in a newborn baby can be a sign of a serious infection. For older children, coughs with a fever lasting more than three days should prompt a visit to your doctor’s office.
How your child breathes may well be the most important sign in determining the seriousness of a cough. If your child seems to be working hard to breathe, such as breathing rapidly, or if you see the spaces between his ribs sucking in and out with each breath, he should be evaluated by a pediatrician. Whooping, wheezing or any harsh-sounding coughing can be serious, and speaking to your pediatrician or an on-call doctor or nurse will determine if a visit is necessary.
Parents almost instinctively know when their children’s health is in danger, but when coughs sound relatively normal, what you can see might determine when to schedule a doctor’s visit. A child who looks sickly or weak along with coughing needs to be seen by a doctor. A child who is drinking or eating less than normal is another sign. When in doubt, call us or schedule an appointment.