Cough: Symptom guide

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A cough can be an indication of a number of possible conditions. The following list of symptoms will help to narrow down the cause.

Symptoms   
  • Chest or nasal congestion
  • Runny or stuffy nose
  • Sore throat
  • Sneezing;
  • Cough
  • Body aches
  • Fever
  • Headache
  • Breathing trouble (from congestion)
Likely Cause        Cold
 
 
Symptoms   
  • Typical cold symptoms (See Colds)
  • Deep chest cough that progressively worsens (sounds like a bark)
  • High fever
  • Hard breathing that is noisy
  • Whistle when inhaling
  • Wheezing when exhaling
  • Symptoms are more severe at night
Likely Cause        Croup
 
 
Symptoms   
  • Typical cold symptoms (See Colds)
  • Possible low-grade fever
  • Cough that worsens and is fast and labored
  • Wheezing
Likely Cause        Bronchitis
 
 
Symptoms   
  • Typical cold symptoms (See Colds)
  • Runny or stuffy nose
  • Possible low-grade fever
  • Harsh cough that is non productive
  • Wheezing
  • A child’s ribs will move inward when breathing
Likely Cause        Bronchitis/Respiratory Syncytial Virus  (RSV)
 
 
Symptoms   
  • Sever cold symptoms (See Colds) come on abruptly
  • Runny or stuffy nose
  • Dry cough       
  • Possible fever
  • Possible vomiting
  • Headache
  • Body aches
  • Shortness of breath
  • Loss of appetite
  • Wheezing
Likely Cause        Flu
 
 
Symptoms   
  • Cough that is dry and non productive
  • Itchy, red, eyes that are watery
  • Runny or stuffy nose
  • Sneezing
  • Wheezing
  • Trouble breathing
  • Hives
  • Rash
  • Possible stomach cramps
  • Possible vomiting and diarrhea
Likely Cause        Allergies
 
 
Symptoms   
  • Cough and throat irritation when exposed to smoke   
Likely Cause        Environmental Irritant
 
 
Symptoms   
  • Chest congestion
  • Tightness in chest
  • Trouble breathing
  • Wheezing
  • Cough that gets worse at night
  • History of allergies
  • Family history of allergies or asthma
Likely Cause        Asthma
   
 
Symptoms   
  • Typical cold symptoms (See Colds) that continue to worsen
  • Persistent cough
  • Hard and fast breathing that is much labored
  • Fever and chills
  • Loss of appetite
  • Vomiting
  • Irritability
  • Headache
  • Pain in the chest or stomach
  • Wheezing
Likely Cause        Pneumonia
 
 
Symptoms   
  • Sore throat or pain in the throat
  • Coughing or wheezing
  • Breathlessness
  • Drooling
Likely Cause        Swallowed object  (Seek medical attention immediately)
 
 
Symptoms   
  • Repeated small bursts of coughs that are followed by a struggle for breath
  • Makes a whooping sound upon inhaling between coughs
  • Stuffy or runny nose
  • Red eyes
  • Fever
  • Loss of appetite
  • Diarrhea
  • Child has not had the full series of DTaP vaccinations
Likely Cause        Whooping Cough (Pertusis)
 

Symptoms   
  • Has a chronic chough
  • Gets colds often
  • History of sinusitis
  • Coughs up a yellow or greenish phlegm
  • Eats well but does not gain weight
  • Foul smelling stools that are heavy and greasy
  • Skin has a salty taste
Likely Cause        Cystic Fibrosis

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