What is causing your child’s cough?

What is causing your child’s cough?Cough and cold are the most common afflictions of children both young and old. Preschoolers suffer from coughs 3-8 times a year and older children up to 4 times. But there is a lot of confusion surrounding coughs and why they are caused. Here’s an article hoping to clear away some of those misconceptions and an easier (read less worrying) recovery.

Coughs are usually caused by viruses. It is what we generally refer to as a viral infection. Since viruses are microorganisms that are neither alive nor dead (seriously!), it is impossible to eradicate them. Antibiotics are of no use on them. So basically, the infection has to run its course. It may last anywhere from 5 days to 12 days. A typical infection throws up symptoms like a head cold, runny or stuffed nose, sore throat, cough and sometimes a fever as well. The paediatrician may prescribe medicine to allay the symptoms of the viral infection (cold, cough, etc), but there is no cure for the infection itself.

However, there are cases when cough can be caused by allergies. If your child is allergic to dust mites, pollen, animal dander, etc, the cough may present itself whenever there is contact with the allergen. The only recourse is to administer antihistamines prescribed by your child’s paediatrician.

In rare cases, Pneumonia, an infection of the lungs can cause a persistent cough. It is also accompanied by difficulty breathing, a cold, fever body aches and chills. If you suspect pneumonia, it is a good idea to take your child to the paediatrician.

Bronchitis is another rare cause of a persistent and hacking cough several weeks after a viral infection. Bronchitis is an infection of the tubes carrying air to the lungs. This too can be either viral or bacterial. If it is bacterial, antibiotics will work. The paediatrician should be able to tell you whether the infection is viral or bacterial.

When to call a doctor, when a child has cough:

If your child is less than 3 month old
If breathing is laboured
Is coughing mucus that is streaked with blood
Is younger than 6 months and has a fever of 101 or above
Is over 6 months and has a fever of 103 and above
Is coughing after choking on something
Coughing causes vomiting

In any case, avoid administering any medication till you have prior permission from the doctor. Over the counter cough medicines do more harm than good. Mixing 2 or more types of cough medicines can cause a fatal combination in some cases.
Till the doctor is able to give you a definite course of action, try some simple home remedies for relief. Honey works wonders on cough. Try it!

 

Caring for your baby’s dental health: Prevention is the key

Dental  Health

Your baby’s toothless smile is one of the most precious things on earth. The appearance of the first tooth is something of a milestone in your baby’s and your life. But what is disappointing is that baby teeth don’t get appropriate amount of health attention, besides the cuteness factor. Generally, a visit to the dentist is occasioned only when there is a problem. This mindset has led to a staggering number of babies facing dental issues such as decay, scarring and caries. If left untreated, tooth decay can cause pain and make it difficult to swallow food.

New research has shown that primary teeth form the foundation of your baby’s future dental health as well as over all well-being. So we decided to put together a series of do’s and don’ts for your baby’s dental health.

Age 0 to 6 months: Wipe your baby’s gums clean and wet with a gauze or a soft cloth

Age 6 to 18 months: Try to introduce a soft baby brush. Continue to use water only for cleaning

Age 18 to 24 month: Introduce a low fluoride toothpaste

  • Remember, decay is caused by bacteria in the mouth. The only thing bacteria loves is sugars from food left in the mouth.
  • For breastfeeding infants (even without any teeth), sleeping with milk in the mouth is the quickest way to invite bacteria to gorge on un-swallowed milk.
  • The easiest way to clean baby gums is to take a clean and soft cloth and wipe your baby’s gums before she falls asleep and every morning. If the baby is going to stay awake, the saliva formation will wash down remnants of milk in the mouth.
  • If the baby uses a pacifier, don’t dip it in sugar or honey. Plain water works best in the long run.
  • If the baby has a habit of falling asleep with the milk bottle in her mouth, gradually replace milk with water.
  • Avoid adding sugar to milk and food
  • Fluoride is essential to your child’s dental health. Toothpaste containing fluoride is the best for everyone in your family. But make sure that the baby doesn’t swallow the toothpaste. Swallowing excessive fluoride can also result in staining of the teeth.
  • If your child already has tooth decay, do not delay a visit to the dentist. The primary teeth are very important for the permanent teeth to be healthy and in the right place.

However, teeth cleaning alone aren’t a guarantee against tooth decay. If despite taking appropriate steps your baby has tooth decay, it probably has something to do with the baby’s diet and warrants a visit to the paediatrician.