Dr Mark Rosenthal


Consultant in Paediatric Respiratory Medicine

also specialist in Food Allergies & Disorders of Sleep

A | A | A

T: 0207 351 8754

E: s.harvey@rbht.nhs.uk

A:The Royal Brompton Hospital, London, SW3 6NP

A cough can have many different causes, each of which requires a different type of baby cough treatment. Identifying the cause of a cough is the first step towards finding the right treatment.


Colds, Flu and Other Infections

Coughs are often a sign of a cold or infection. Having a cold or the flu isn’t usually serious. You should be able to manage the symptoms at home and they should go away within the week. However, some kinds of chest infections can be more serious, so if your child has a high fever, the cough is very severe, is producing phlegm, or it lasts longer than expected, you should see your doctor. Your child may need antibiotics or other types of child or baby cough treatment to clear the infection.


A cough that causes your child’s chest to heave and which is followed by wheezing could be caused by asthma rather than an infection. You may also notice that the coughing is triggered by certain things, such as dust or exercise. Asthma is usually identified in young children and it requires treatment to manage the symptoms and prevent serious attacks.

Feeding Problems

In younger babies and infants, coughing can also be related to feeding. Some babies are very sensitive to gastroesophageal reflux, which can make them fuss, pull away and cough during feeding. Other children can experience problems coordinating their breathing and swallowing, which can make them take milk down their windpipe rather than into their stomachs. The milk can irritate your baby’s lungs, which can lead to a wet sounding cough. These problems often resolve themselves over time, but you should still see your doctor about baby cough treatment. Your doctor may be able to recommend ways of reducing reflux or suggest that you use a thickener to prevent liquids being inhaled. In rare cases, there may also be an underlying problem, such as a milk allergy, that needs to be addressed in order to tackle the coughing.

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