When To Worry About Your Child's Cough

December 6, 2011 Updated Dec 6, 2011 at 7:49 PM EDT

By WKBW News

December 6, 2011 Updated Dec 6, 2011 at 7:49 PM EDT

(WKBW/Cleveland Clinic) This time of year it may be hard to find a child who doesn't have a cough, but when should the common cough become a concern?

Pediatricians say there are a few things parents should watch out for.

Dr. Elaine Schulte of the Cleveland Clinic Children's Hospital says, "Typically a cough can last for seven to ten days after the runny nose stops, so when you get really nervous is when the cough interrupts sleep, if there's fever accompanying the cough or if the cough seems to be spreading through the house."

Doctors say most kids will develop a cough following an upper respiratory infection and that a humidifier may help moisten dry air and relieve congestion.

Lots of fluids will help keep the back of the throat moist and older kids may benefit from cough drops.

According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, several studies show that cough medicine doesn't work in children younger than 6 and can have potentially serious side effects.

If your child has a cough, doctors say the best thing to do is encourage it.

Dr. Schulte says, "If the kids aren't allowed to cough, the mucus and secretions can end up getting stuck in the lungs and sometimes creating a perfect setup for pneumonia.

If a cough lasts longer than 10 days, doctors recommend you call your pediatrician.

It could be a sign of a more serious illness like pneumonia,
whooping cough or a sinus infection.

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