Why human cough?

 Cough is actually an important reflex of our airway to clear whatever secretion or  foreign body blocking the passage of air. Without cough mechanism, human will die
 of choking which leads to suffocation.




What causing cough?

There are many causes. It is commonly associated with airway problem, either upper or lower airway. But, it can be other causes like gastro-esophageal regurgitation, heart problem and so forth.

What is the most common cause of cough?

If the cough has recently onset, which may accompanied by flu and fever, it is most likely due to viral pharingitis (infection in the throat).

Why some kids have recurrent history or longstanding cough?

This type of cough, especially with family history of atopy (atopy refers to allergic diseases like allergic nose, asthma or eczema), the child most likely suffers from allergic nose or asthma.




Any chest x-ray should be done?

Most of the time, doctor can make a correct diagnosis based on good history given by care giver. Chest x-ray is indicated if doctor suspects of pneumonia (lung infection) or other lung problem which causing a longstanding cough.



How does a cough syrup stop the cough?

Bear in mind, cough syrup is not meant to stop the cough! Its function is to break the thick phlegm which stuck inside the airway. Therefore, patient can easily cough it up.

Why after taking cough medicine, the kid coughs even worse?

After taking so-called ‘cough medicine’, the child will not stop coughing immediately as parents expected! In fact, he may cough more to remove the ‘broken and diluted phlegm’ in an easier way.

Why some cough very difficult to be cured?

We have to identify the cause of cough. If it is caused by post nasal drip (cough due to flu or allergic rhinitis), then we need to treat the flu. If the cough is because of asthma, an airway medicine called Salbutamol is important to help ‘open’ the airway. 

If there is family history of atopy, surrounding allergens (dust, polluted air, house mite, smoker etc) play a very important role too in controlling the problem.

bronchiolesIs nebulizer treatment good for kids?

Doctor only prescribe this treatment when there is wheezing sound inside the lungs. Usually patients suffer from acute bronchiolitis (viral infection inside the small airways) and acute asthma will have such a chesty cough. The phlegm is stuck inside the inflamed and narrowed airways. Therefore, they need to inhale the medicine into the lungs directly as to ‘open’ up the narrowed airways to ease the cough mechanism that help clearing the blockage.

inhelerWhy doctor prescribes inhaler to my kid?

When a child is diagnosed to have moderate asthma, he must be put on preventive treatment, which is a steroid aerosol that to be inhaled into airway daily via a device called Inhaler. It is to ‘protect’ the fragile airway not to be so sensitive towards the allergens. Therefore, less phlegm production, and thus less cough. The quality of life will then improve. The child can be put on Inhaler for 3 to 6 months depending on his severity of cough.

Is antibiotic needed?

90% of cough and flu with or without fever is caused by virus. The patient’s immune system will handle it efficiently. Therefore, no antibiotic is needed. Never abuse the usage of antibiotic to avoid the growth of resistant bugs.



Kid cannot cough up the phlegm, how?

Yes, kids do not know how to cough and spit out the phlegm. But, don’t worry, they at least cough up the phlegm to clear the airway and swallow into their stomach. That’s all. They can sometimes get ‘choked’ a bit and vomit. Is ok.

Why kid cough badly when he is lying down?

The kid may suffer from flu with post nasal drip (nose secretion dripping downwards from the back of the nose). Therefore, he coughs badly when he lies down flat as the gravity pulling the nose secretion downwards and irritates the throat. You need to make him lie on slanting position with head, neck and back being propped up. Try to clear the nose with seawater spray and nasal decongestant.

Any food to avoid if the kid coughs badly?

Generally cold and sweet stuffs need to be avoided as it may trigger the cough. There is unnecessary to avoid taking egg, chicken and fish as claimed by old people.

Can the kid take cow’s milk?

If the doctor suspects the kid is having cow’s milk protein allergy, which means the kid has longstanding and recurrent chesty cough whenever he drinks cow’s milk, he should abstinent from taking it. Then soya-based formula is the replacement.

Baby produces noisy breathing, is it phlegm?

Not all ‘noisy breathing’ is due to phlegm. Noisy breathing after every feed can be gastro-esophageal reflux in which the baby just retch out the milk to the level of throat and then swallow back. The milk is not visible in the mouth, so parents unaware there is reflux going on and mistaken as ‘phlegm’. Besides this, it could be nose block.

Can a coughing baby sleep in the air-conditioned room?

Aircond room is an environment with ‘recycled’ air circulating inside a closed compartment. Therefore it transmits airborne germ easily. Moreover, cool air may trigger nasal congestion and airway constriction. Thus, worsen the hypersensitive airway and producing more nose secretion and phlegm.

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