It's always distressing to hear your little one cough, especially in the middle of the night. Still, as common as this wintertime symptom is, it's helpful to know that it often sounds worse than it really is.
"Cough is one of the most important defenses against respiratory tract illness," says Dr. Susanna McColley, division head of pulmonary medicine at Children's Memorial Hospital in Chicago. "During respiratory tract infections, mucus is secreted into the airways as part of the response to infection; cough helps to clear this."
Coughs also provide valuable clues about your child's illness. Follow our guide to figure out what's worrisome and what's not-and help your child feel better fast.
he sound is unlike any cough you've ever heard before," says pediatrician Mark Widome, author of Ask Dr. Mark.
When your child inhales sharply to catch her breath, she makes a high-pitched whooping sound.
Coughing episodes typically worsen when she's lying down.
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