Child's Cold Cough Recurring? Mother, Recognize the Cause First

Cold cough disease in children often occurs, especially when entering the transition season. However, many cases of cough and cold are recurring, so that almost every month the child goes to the doctor. There are also cases when a child has a cough or runny nose almost every week. If you take treatment, it will heal, but after only one week you will be sick again.

Recurrent cold cough

The body's immunity in toddlers is not perfect, that's why toddlers' resistance to disease is not strong. In healthy toddlers can experience several episodes of cold cough in one year. If the frequency of cold coughs does not exceed 6 times a year, then it is still within reasonable limits. If it has been more than 6 times a year, then it is better to look for the cause so that it can be prevented so that the child does not need to always take medicine.

Causes of recurrent colds: Allergies or viral infections

Many factors can influence the occurrence of recurrent cold cough in children. Genetic factors, child resistance, triggers, and the environment greatly influence the incidence of recurrent colds in children. Parents need to know the symptoms and signs of flu virus infection in children. In general, the symptoms of flu virus infection are cough, runny nose which is often accompanied by fever. Cough and cold symptoms occur throughout the day and generally get better within a week.

If a cold cough recurs very often, it is necessary to look for the causative factor. For example: how is the child's nutritional status, generally well-nourished children have good immune systems too. What is the child's sleep pattern, because children who lack sleep will lower their immune system. What is the child's diet, whether eating vegetables, fruit and drinking enough water, because a good diet meets the needs of vitamins and minerals so that the immune system increases. Does the child often consume unhealthy foods, for example ice cream or dry snacks, because these foods often irritate the throat so that they can trigger repeated coughing. What about the child's environment, is there anyone at home who often coughs up colds so that it infects the child. Is there a history of allergies in the family, because genetically affects the possibility of allergies in children.

If the cough and/or runny nose recurs very frequently or has a time pattern, for example, you only cough at dawn, or only have a runny nose in the morning, then generally this is caused by allergies. Because if a cold cough is caused by a viral infection, in general the symptoms will occur throughout the day and will usually improve within one week.

How to deal with recurring cold cough

Some things that can be done to prevent children from experiencing recurrent cold coughs, namely:

  • It is highly recommended that all toddlers get influenza vaccination in order to increase their immune system, so they can prevent flu virus infection.
  • Do not give food that can trigger coughing, for example: dry food/snacks, cold/ice drinks, spicy food.
  • Drink enough water and eat lots of vegetables/fruits.
  • Don't get close to people with the flu. If someone in the house has the flu, you should wear a mask to prevent transmission.
  • Enough sleep, keeps the immune system awake.
  • When sleeping, try to keep the air temperature in the room not too cold and the airflow does not directly hit the child's body.

Treatment of recurrent cold cough depends on the cause, in general, flu virus infections will heal on their own within one week. To speed healing, you should drink lots of water and get enough rest, so generally flu symptoms will disappear quickly. If the recurrent cold cough is caused by allergies, the trigger factors for allergies must be avoided.

Many trigger factors can cause repeated coughs / colds due to allergies. But in general, the trigger factors for allergic cold coughs are cold air, dust, dust mites, cigarette smoke, animal dander, dry food/snacks, spicy food, cold drinks/ice and chocolate. In children with allergies who experience recurrent cold coughs, the trigger factors above should be avoided.

Limit the use of antibiotics in cold coughs

What is often also a question is that many doctors often give antibiotics to children who are sick with coughs and colds. The importance of the knowledge of doctors as well as parents about the rational use of drugs in children, plays a very important role in reducing the unnecessary use of antibiotics. The use of antibiotics should be avoided if there is no indication. The cause of infection in cold coughs is generally a virus, not bacteria. That's why avoid using antibiotics when not needed. In recurrent cold coughs due to allergies, antibiotics also do not need to be given because they will not speed up healing, instead making germs more resistant and decreasing body resistance.

The main treatment for recurrent cold coughs caused by allergies, which is not taking drugs, but the main thing is to avoid triggers for allergies. Sometimes in certain children, allergic trigger factors are unavoidable. If the trigger factor cannot be avoided, then drugs are used to treat the allergic symptoms. The choice of drug in allergy sufferers must also consider safety factors and side effects of long-term use. If the allergy medicine that is given turns out to be given long-term because the triggering factor cannot be avoided, then use the drug with the most minimal side effects. As an alternative, treatment can be switched to inhalation/spray drugs which do not have systemic effects on the child's body so that they can be used long term without worrying about side effects.

This article was written by dr. Ferdy Limawal, Sp.A (Pediatrician at EMC Alam Sutera Hospital)