- Cold & Flu Cough Relief Slideshow
- Cold & Flu Quiz: Test Your Medical IQ
- Cold and Flu Slideshow: Treating Your Child's Cold or Fever
- Patient Comments: Children's Cough Causes and Treatments - Acute Cough Cause
- Patient Comments: Children's Cough Causes and Treatments - Chronic Cough
- Find a local Doctor in your town
- What is a cough?
- What are the common causes of acute cough in children?
- What are the common causes of chronic cough in children?
- How is the cause of childhood cough diagnosed?
- What are the various therapies and home remedies for childhood cough?
- When should I contact my doctor for childhood cough symptoms?
How is the cause of childhood cough diagnosed?
As in most medical evaluations taking a thorough history and conducting a comprehensive physical examination generally leads to a narrow list of diagnostic possibilities. Laboratory studies, X-ray studies and specialized testing by allergists or pulmonary specialists may occasionally be necessary to establish or confirm the cause of childhood cough.
Issues to be evaluated while taking a history of childhood cough include:
- Duration and intensity of cough,
- Character of the cough (for example, the "bark" of croup),
- Events leading up to the cough (for example, possibility of foreign body aspiration),
- Events which affect cough (for example, physical activity produces increase in cough and shortness of breath in wheezing),
- Precipitating events associated with cough (for example, GERD symptoms associated with feeding),
- Progressive worsening of symptoms and development of fever (for example, pneumonia as complication of upper repsiratory infection),
- Environmental influences (for example, nasal allergy), and
- Possible emotional component (for example, benign motor tic).
Testing may include:
- Chest X-ray and/or sinus X-rays,
- Pulmonary function tests - determines the adequacy of lung inspiration and expiration effort and capability,
- Allergy testing,
- Nasal swabs for specific infectious agents (for example, respiratory syncytial virus, pertussis whooping cough),
- Specialized X-ray studies to help define anatomy (for example, barium swallow), and
- Endoscopy and bronchoscopy (insertion of a flexible device with camera to evaluate the upper airway.