Dry cough that occurs when the child wakes in the morning is usually triggered by mucous that drained down the throat while the child is sleeping. Even though the child changes positions, he/she might cough in order to move the mucus out of the throat. Children might cough for up to 4 weeks after a respiratory condition, but allergies are more likely to cause a chronic morning dry cough.
What are the causes?
Most cases of dry cough early in the morning are triggered by nasal allergies. It is important to note that these allergies are likely to occur seasonally, if the child is allergic to mold or pollen. On the other hand, many children suffer from year-round allergies that are instigated by house mold, pet dander, dust or cigarette smoke. Occasionally, a dry cough in the morning can be caused by asthma or an illness. If not treated, nasal allergies can lead to a sinus infection.
Signs and symptoms
Aside from the dry cough in the morning, you have to watch out for other symptoms of nasal allergies such as watery eyes, runny nose, sneezing as well as mouth breathing or dark circles under the eyes.
The indications of asthma include coughing and wheezing throughout the day especially after exercising or exposure to cold, dry air. In some cases, gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) is oftentimes linked with asthma and triggered by stomach acid that leaked into the esophagus. Take note that heartburn is the main symptom of GERD although coughing can also occur.
There are several measures to bear in mind in order to prevent dry cough from occurring.
- Keep the windows closed to prevent the entry of pollen. Make sure that vacuuming in the house is done on a regular basis.
- Those who smoke should not do it inside the house or whenever around the child.
- While sleeping at night, the child should be elevated using two pillows beneath the head to minimize coughing.
- Use a properly maintained humidifier to increase the level of humidity to reduce the swelling and irritation in the nasal passages. Just make sure that the humidifier is cleaned every week to prevent the buildup of mold and bacteria.
- Utilize saline nasal drops several times in a day to moisturize the nasal passages.
- Provide the child with a warm beverage such as warm water or diluted herbal tea to minimize the dry cough.
When to consult a doctor
It is best to seek treatment if the child suffers from dry cough that lasts for more than a week or if the child shows signs of serious conditions such as difficulty breathing, wheezing, lethargy or high fever. The doctor can properly assess and determine nasal allergies and rule out other possible causes. In most cases, the doctor might prescribe nasal corticosteroids or antihistamines aside from the allergy testing. Once the child is diagnosed with asthma, the doctor will provide medications to minimize the coughing and inflammation.