Different Types of Respiratory Infections for Children
The respiratory system provides oxygen to the body. Coughing is the expulsion of unwanted matter caused by the battle between the invading bacteria and the body.
If the child constantly coughs day and night, or if energy levels are low, this is in most cases due to an infection from a respiratory system condition.
Respiratory System: Examination Points
Examine the cough
The mucous membrane in a child’s respiratory system is weak and sensitive. If a room is too dry and temperature varies frequently, cough will develop. Furthermore, the windpipe is narrow.
When mucus secretion is high, a wheezing sound is developed. If the child coughs after just waking up, just after drinking milk, inhaling cold air or breathing in dust, this is normal. Thus, there is no need to seek medical attention.
When the respiratory system becomes inflamed due to an infection from a virus or bacteria, the first sign is a cough. There are many degrees of coughs. It can be very light or very severe. Therefore, if a child develops a cough, it is better to first observe its condition and its associated symptoms. Generally, if it is a common cold or other respiratory infection, there’s presence of phlegm, productive coughs and usually accompanied by fever, vomiting and diarrhea etc.
Examine the child
Sometimes the cough will be accompanied by phlegm being stuck in the throat. The severity of the symptoms will likewise be different from each child. Others will only be having light cold symptoms, and at normal energy levels the symptoms may quickly emerge and disappear. To examine further, take note of the child’s eyes whether they are glazed or focused. Energy levels, appetite, or any other conditions related to a cold should also be considered. If the baby doesn’t laugh when being played or the throat is painful and has no appetite, then the condition needs attention. It is best to consult a medical doctor.
Drink plenty of water
When the cough is severe, the body will lose more water. Therefore, more water intake must be consumed. Phlegm will also attach to the mucus membrane in the respiratory organs irritating the bronchial tube and causes the cough to worsen. Drinking water will help dilute the phlegm and keep the bronchial tubes moisten. If the child will not vomit phlegm and instead swallow it, there is no need for concern.
Dry air will aggravate symptoms of the respiratory organs, so it is important to maintain suitable humidity. If the room humidity is increased, phlegm will be diluted, cough and stuffy nose will be less severe, and the child will feel more comfortable. When the cough is severe, moisten a cloth with warm water and press around the mouth area to provide relief.
Dusty and dirty air will also aggravate symptoms of respiratory organs. So it is best to avoid smoking indoors and clean the house in every corner of each room. It is most effective to use a damp cloth to wipe over the surfaces. Room temperature should be maintained between 18-22 degrees.
Avoid cough syrup
Forcibly suppressing a cough may lead to other complications causing greater suffering for the child. So cough syrup should be avoided.
Get plenty of rest
The golden rule for coughs and all other conditions is to get plenty of rest. When the body is tired and suffering from fatigue, it is harder to help the condition to improve. Also, when the body is weak, it is more susceptible to become infected. If the cough persists severely, hold the baby upright. You can also at least allow the top half to sit upright, this will help the breathing more smoothly. If there is a lot of phlegm and non-stop coughing, use the cup of your hand to pat the back of the baby.
The speed an illness can develop is especially fast with children. What was at first a light cold can quickly turn into one of the respiratory diseases, particularly pneumonia, or higher degree of complication. When suffering from a severe cough, the most dangerous part is the difficulty to breathe. A severe cough can consume much of the body’s energy and at some instances, of a less severe cough which can cause breathing difficulties.
Go to the hospital immediately if breathing is uncomfortable and has a loud wheezing sound, when breathing is as though having an asthma attack (nostrils flared and shoulders rising and falling), or if the lips and tip of fingers turns blue. Breathing will also be very hard during pneumonia. It develops after a cough is overlooked. Coughs can lead to labored breathing, face will turn red, eyes will become bloodshed and breathing will be difficult. If there are such coughing fits, don’t delay seeking medical attention. Even though you may be treating the cough, if the situation changes into anything described above, don’t delay. Therefore, for any respiratory system condition, seek medical attention immediately.