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Dry and wet coughs in infants and newborns

Dry and wet coughs in infants and newborns

Małgorzata Kruk (MPharm)

 A cough is a frequent symptom of an infection of the upper respiratory tract (the common cold). It is particularly dangerous for a newborn or an infant because it makes breathing difficult, weakens the baby and prevents sleep.

There are two basic types of cough accompanying the common cold:
a wet cough – namely productive. In older children and adults it proceeds with coughing up thick mucus. However newborns and infants usually swallow the phlegm. As a result there is a high risk of bronchitis and pneumonia. Vomiting may occur when the mucus is swallowed.
a dry cough – persistent and tiring, usually being the effect of an irritation of the throat's mucous membrane.


Only a pediatrician can decide on giving medications for this cough to a newborn. You can help your baby by simple nursing treatments:
humidifying the air,
gently patting the baby's back several times a day (during a wet cough),
regularly giving the baby something to drink.


In the case of a wet cough, a child older than 6 months may be given syrup with bromhexine (a substance diluting the phlegm in the respiratory tract and facilitating its removal).
Remember that an intensive cough, difficulties in breathing with the face becoming blue and a high fever in such a small baby require immediate consultation with a physician.

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This information is provided for your reference only and it is not to be relied upon on its own as instructions for use of this medication. It is not a replacement for and should only be used in conjunction with full consultation with a licensed healthcare professional, the information provided by your pharmacist and the manufacturer of the medication. It may not contain all the available information you require and cannot substitute professional medical care, nor does it take into account all individual circumstances. Other than liability for death or personal injury arising out of our negligence, we shall not be held responsible or liable for any claims or damages arising from the use or misuse of the information contained herein, its contents or omissions, or otherwise.

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