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When to See a Doctor About Your Child's Cough

When to See a Doctor About Your Child's Cough

Children can develop a cough for many reasons, from the weather to allergies to a cold. But for over 6 million American children, a cough could signal asthma, a serious chronic lung disease. 

The caring providers at Wasatch Peak Family Practice and Oceans Contours in Layton, Utah, offer specialized pediatric and asthma care. We also know it can be a challenge to distinguish a mild cough from one that requires medical attention.

We’re here to help, so we’ve put together this guide so you can tell when it’s time to see a doctor about your child’s cough. 

1. Your child has a cough that won’t quit

If your child has a cough that comes frequently (every few minutes) and won't quit after several hours, it’s time to call your doctor. This type of cough could signal breathing problems or irritation in the throat. 

Nonproductive frequent coughs that last eight weeks or more could also be caused by asthma. In this case, it’s important to bring your child in for evaluation and to begin asthma treatment if required. Our practice specializes in asthma diagnosis and treatment for patients of all ages.

2. Your child has a brief, fast cough

Whooping cough, or pertussis, is a serious respiratory infection characterized by the short, fast cough it causes and the “whoop” sound children make when taking a breath. Bring your child in if this sounds familiar. Fortunately, the pertussis vaccine offers protection against this dangerous infection. 

3. Your child has a cough with wheezing

If your child sounds congested when they breathe, meaning you can hear the mucus when they inhale or exhale, it’s actually a good sign. But if your child has a cough accompanied by wheezing, call the doctor immediately. 

Wheezing sounds like high-pitched whistling when your child breathes out. This symptom could be a sign of pneumonia and requires medical attention. Some children with asthma also wheeze. In that case, follow your child’s asthma plan. 

4. Your child has a cough that shows up at night

A recurring dry, nighttime cough and gets worse with physical activity is often a sign of asthma. This condition triggers swelling in the airways, making it difficult for your child to breathe, and it’s often worse at night and in the early morning. Call your Wasatch Peak Family Practice & Oceans Contours provider to schedule an evaluation.

5. Your child has a cough with other symptoms

If your child has a cough with any of these additional symptoms, call our office or go to urgent care:

You should also call our office if your child has a cough that doesn’t match any of the above, but you’re still worried or have a gut feeling that something’s not right. Call our Layton office to schedule an appointment, or send a message online to your provider at Wasatch Peak Family Practice and Oceans Contours. 

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