Baby Cough: Types and Symptoms

image001Most of the illnesses that are contracted by children have coughing as one of the most obvious symptoms. Even though the sound produced by coughing is often very concerning, more often than not it is not an indication of a serious illness. Baby cough is rather an important mechanism to clear out the airways present in the chest and throat. For mild cases, you can use simple remedies to relieve it and for serious conditions, seek your doctor’s help.

Possible Causes of Baby Cough

Based on What Baby Cough Is Like 

What’s the Coughing Like?

Possible Causes

Dry cough

Dry cough is often an indication of an allergy or cold in babies. This kind of coughing can help in erasing the irritation felt by the baby suffering from a throat infection.

Wet cough

Wet cough is often an indication of a respiratory disease that stems from a bacterial infection. This kind of coughing can result in the formation of mucus or phlegm in the airways of the baby. White cells can be found in this mucus or phlegm, which are there to combat the germs.

Barky cough


A swelling of the upper portion of the trachea or larynx can produce a barky cough. The reason for this swelling is usually Croup, in which the small airways of the child become swollen thus making it hard for him to breathe. The causes of Croup include bacterial infection or allergies.

Whooping cough

Whooping cough results from a bacterium by the name of Bordetella Pertussis. In this type of cough, the child takes a breath which makes a whooping sound in between fits of coughing. The whooping cough is usually accompanied with symptoms like sneezing, mild fever and runny nose.

Cough with wheezing

Cough with a wheezing sound can be a sign of a swollen lower airway of the lungs. The wheezing sound is produced when the baby exhales during coughing. Asthma or bronchitis is the reason for this kind of cough.

Nighttime cough

Nighttime coughs often result from asthma as the airways become more prone to swelling at night. Moreover, cold can also trigger an episode of coughing at night since the mucus coming from the nose can trickle down into the throat and cause nighttime cough.

Daytime cough


Daytime cough can be caused due to irritants present in the air like tobacco smoke, air freshener or pet hair.

Cough with a fever


Usually a cough caused by a common cold accompanies a slight fever. However, if the fever is above 102 degrees F then it is a clear sign that the child has pneumonia and should be taken to a doctor immediately.

Cough with vomiting


Vomiting is sometimes accompanied with coughing. In case of cold or asthma, the drainage of mucus in the stomach can result in nausea. Moreover, heavy coughing can also cause vomiting too by triggering their gag reflex. The vomiting is not serious unless it does not stop.

Persistent cough


Coughing can last for weeks if it is being caused by a sinus infection, allergy or asthma. Coughing caused by cold can also persist if the virus does not go away easily. Any cough that lasts more than 3 weeks becomes a persistent cough and must be checked out by a physician.

Based on the Causative Condition and Their Symptoms 

Causative Conditions


Dry air or smoke

Sore throat and dry cough


Sore throat, mild fever, congestion, sneezing, mild fever, headache and loss of appetite


Sore throat, fever, muscle pain, vomiting, dizziness, loss of appetite, headache, chills, exhaustion and runny nose


Fever, irritability, stuffy nose, hoarse voice, labored breathing and difficulty in swallowing


Vomiting, lethargy, runny nose, fever, rapid heartbeat and difficulty in breathing


Sore throat, runny nose, fatigue, chest pain, vomiting, chills, fever and shortness of breath


Chest pain, fever, body aches, sweating, chills, vomiting, diarrhea, fatigue and blue colored lips


Itchy, red and watery eyes, sneezing, nasal congestion, rash or hives, diarrhea or vomiting

How to Deal with Baby Cough

  • Keeping your child hydrated is important so giving him juices can be a good idea but avoid giving him orange juice as it can irritate the throat. Increasing the amount of milk you feed him could also help in soothing the throat and providing the fluids that he requires for combating the infection.
  • Installing a humidifier in your child’s room can help him sleep peacefully. Taking him outdoors in the open air could also be helpful in limiting his baby cough but be sure to keep these outdoor trips short.
  • Giving your child a lot of rest is very important for easing the symptoms of baby cough.
  • Steam can be an effective method for relieving baby cough symptoms too, but make sure that the baby does not get burnt.
  • For asthma. Children that are suffering from asthma should be taken to a doctor and an asthma care plan should be developed for him so that the right medicines could be picked for them.
  • Give medications carefully. Don’t give any over the counter drug to your children without getting advice from your physician. Moreover, cough drops are more suitable for adults and older kids, so don’t give them to you young ones.

    Give your child the right dosage of ibuprofen and infant paracetamol but make sure that the child at least has a weight of about 5kg.

Watch a video to learn how to make effective cough syrup with honey, ginger and lemon:

Watch a video to get more remedies for wet baby cough:

Watch a video to get more remedies for whooping baby cough:

When to See a Doctor

Mostly coughing is not a very serious problem for children but sometimes the symptoms warrant a visit to the doctor.

  • If your child is an infant and has been coughing for more than a few hours then you should immediately take him to a doctor.
  • If your baby is dehydrated, feeling weak, coughing up blood or has trouble breathing, then it is also a sign that his cough is becoming serious and he must receive medical attention as soon as possible.
  • Any whooping or musical sound produced while breathing by your baby is also a clear sign that he must be taken to a doctor immediately.
  • Fever accompanied with coughing is also a cause of concern and if it goes higher than 102 °F then you must call your physician and take his advice.

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