In children, a cough is usually caused by an acute viral infection. A cough is always a symptom of bronchial irritation. A cough caused by a viral infection usually passes in 1 to 2 weeks. In case of acute laryngitis, coughing sounds like barking and typically begins at night, waking the child.


Further examinations are not required when the child is in good overall health and the cough has only lasted for a short while. Breathing humid air may ease the child's symptoms. Use an air humidifier or run hot water in the bathroom to accumulate steam and then sit with the child in the bathroom for 10 to 20 minutes. If your child has a fever, remove excess clothing before entering the steamy room. Over-the-counter cough medicines do not cure the cough but may alleviate the symptoms.

When to seek medical assistance?


Seek immediate medical assistance if your child experiences shortness of breath. If a small child suddenly starts coughing violently, the cause might be a foreign body in the respiratory tract.

If the cough continues for a long period of time, seek medical assistance.