Coughing and wheezing in children
- Coughing & wheezing are the common symptoms of childhood illness.
- They may be distressing for you and your baby, but do not usually mean that
your child has a serious problem.
Different reason why your child may cough or wheeze
1. Colds & other viruses – very common cause of coughing.
2. Choking – a sudden onset cough in a well child.
3. Croup – Barking, hoarse cough.
4. Smoking – in the house & car increases the risk of respiratory
5. Allergy – after exposure to some specific substances.
6. Asthma – cough tends to be worse at night (or) after
7. Whooping Cough – a contagious infection which can be
prevented by vaccination.
8. Pneumonia – child presents with cough, high fever & fast
breathing, this can
be prevented by immunization.
2. Allergies in children
- Incidence of food allergy is much higher in children than adults.
- Children get allergies when they come in contact with allergens.
- Allergens can be inhaled, eaten, injected (or) they can come into contact with
- Common allergens are pollens, house dust mites, animal dander, some foods
(eggs, nuts, cow’s milk, fish etc), and medicines.
- They can present with wide range of symptoms like, itching, skin rashes (hives),
swelling of lips and tongue, breathing difficulty /chest tightness, trouble
swallowing, cough, dizziness, tummy pain, weak pulse and shock.
- The best way to prevent an allergic reaction is to identify the allergens & avoid
- Blood tests for allergies are available to identify Inhalation Allergy & Food
- Oral antihistamines help to relieve mild to moderate allergic reactions.
- Injectable medications are used for severe allergic reactions.
3. Vitamin D deficiency in children
- Vitamin D has an important role in regulating calcium & phosphate metabolism for bone health & bone growth maintenance.
- Vitamin D is produced in skin exposed to sunlight.
- Vitamin D deficiency occurs due to inadequate sunlight exposure.
- Children presents with bony pain, muscle weakness, increased tendency for
fractures, hypocalcemia & skeletal deformity.
- Deficiency in children leads to Rickets- bone softening, deformity of long
bones/bow legs, and delay in teeth formation.
- Assess Vit D levels in the blood at annual checkups.
- Deficiency can be managed by either oral or injectable forms of Vit D
4. Breast Milk – the best milk
- Give mother’s milk to every baby Immediately after birth.
- Babies should be exclusively breast fed for 6 months, then till 2 years with
- There are multiple benefits of breastfeeding.
By 2 nd week of life, babies weight must be nearly same as birth weight, if it is
less, then meet doctor and discuss.
- Breast milk in the initial few days is high in immunoglobulin and is very
- Breast feeding prevents various problems like Diarrhea, Malnutrition, Anemia.
No prelacteal feeds, No bottle /no pacifiers for the new born babies
- Breast milk production and milk let down requires effective and frequent
- Correct positioning ensures good latching.
- Feed the baby when it demands for mother’s milk.
- Nipple & breast problems should be prevented & managed timely.
5. Diarrhea in children
- Everything that goes in the mouth, must be clean.
- Thirst is an earliest indicator of dehydration.
- Sunken eyeballs indicate dehydration.
- During diarrheal episode, a child loses lot of fluid from the body, hence it is
important that the child is hydrated at regular intervals.
- Parents can feed ORS at home.
- Use medicines for diarrhea only on doctors’ advice.
- Continue breastfeeding during diarrhea.
- Diarrhea is not worsened by giving food.
- To prevent diarrhea – continue breastfeeds, give measles vaccine, proper
sanitation, keep water and food clean, wash hands before touching food.