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Tips, Information,
and Insights on
Cough Relief and Causes,
from the WebMD Ear,
Nose & Throat Community

Coughing can be a symptom of things such as a viral infection, allergies, or exposure to irritants like smoke. It’s a useful reflex that helps clear your body of harmful germs and mucus.

One WebMD ENT Community member shares her concern about her 3-year-old daughter’s recurring cough that sometimes makes her throw up. Her daughter also has pain from swollen tonsils that occasionally have white spots.

The pediatrician ruled out strep throat and whooping cough, but still, her symptoms lasted much longer than Mom expected. Then -- just two weeks later -- she was sick again!

WebMD health expert Rod Moser, PA, PhD, reassures Mom that back-to-back and recurrent viral infections are not unusual in young children because their immune systems are still developing.

His questions to this worried mom: Was her daughter around other children? Could her toddler have allergies? (They also commonly cause a chronic cough.)

Mom’s response: She and her daughter stay at home every day, so most likely her 3-year-old didn’t catch something from another child. Since that leaves allergies as the next consideration, she asks: Do allergies cause swollen, purplish tonsils?

The mystery stays unresolved when Moser explains that children can have disproportionately "larger" tonsils, and allergies can make them inflamed. But purple tonsils aren’t a sign of allergies.

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