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    Coughs

    Call 911 if your child:

    • Is unconscious or not breathing
    • Is gasping for breath
    • Has trouble breathing or is breathing very fast when not coughing
    • Has severe coughing attacks or continuous coughing
    • Can't cry or talk because of breathing trouble
    • Grunts when breathing
    • Has blue lips
    • May have a small object caught in her throat
    • Is breathing very fast (this is also a symptom of fever)
    • Looks very sick

    • Is unconscious or not breathing
    • Is gasping for breath
    • Has trouble breathing or is breathing very fast when not coughing
    • Has severe coughing attacks or continuous coughing
    • Can't cry or talk because of breathing trouble
    • Grunts when breathing
    • Has blue lips
    • May have a small object caught in her throat
    • Is breathing very fast (this is also a symptom of fever)
    • Looks very sick

    Coughs in young children can be due to a number of illnesses. Most often, a cough gets better on its own and doesn't need to be a cause for concern.

    Call Doctor If Your Child:

    • Is younger than 1 year old and still has trouble breathing after you cleaned out her nose
    • May have a lung infection or a reactive airways disease episode
    • Is wheezing or making a high-pitched whistle sound when breathing out or in
    • Can't take a deep breath because of chest pain or coughed-up blood
    • Has a fever that lasts longer than 72 hours

    1. Prevent Dehydration

    • Give babies plenty of breast milk or formula.
    • Give older children water or juice mixed with water.

    2. Relieve Congestion

    • Thin mucus in a stuffy nose with saline nose drops.
    • Remove mucus from a baby's nose with a suction bulb.
    • Use a humidifier in your child's room or take your child into the bathroom with a steamy shower running.

    3. Ease Breathing

    • Use a cool-mist humidifier to add moisture to the air.
    • Sit in the bathroom with a hot shower running and have your child breathe in the steam.

    4. Make the Child Comfortable

    • Let the child rest.
    • Avoid irritants, such as cigarette smoke.
    • Don't give cough medicine to a child under age 4 unless your pediatrician suggests it.

    WebMD Medical Reference

    Reviewed by Dan Brennan, MD on September 15, 2015

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