A cough is normal with a cold or other respiratory illness; however, you must know how to tell when the cough is serious enough to contact the doctor.
If your child has a cough that doesn’t seem to get better after one week, you should probably contact the doctor. Here are some other things to look out for:
If a child is less than 3 months old and has a persistent cough, call the doctor right away. In a very young child, a cough could be a sign of croup. Croup is a deep cough that almost sounds like a bark and becomes worse at night. Croup is cause by a parainfluenza virus that causes the windpipe to narrow. This cough sounds horrible, but the condition is not too serious. Your doctor will tell you how to treat the croup at home.
If your child is breathing rapidly, wheezing, or seems to be working very hard to breathe, take him to the doctor. This could be symptoms of asthma. A child with asthma will also have a bought of coughing after exertion.
Should there be any streaks of blood in the mucus that your child coughs up, get medical attention right away. Among other causes, your child could have inhaled a very small object that is causing the cough and bleeding.
Call the doctor if fever is present with a cough. If your child is 3 to 6 months old, fever of 101 degrees Fahrenheit or more is problematic. For a child 6 months or older, a fever of 103 degrees Fahrenheit or more warrants a visit to the doctor.
Lastly, if your child has a chronic illness, such as heart or lung disease and has a couch that is not getting better, seek medical attention.