When babies are between 4 and 7 months old, teething is a common practice. They will most likely have 20 full-set baby teeth by the time they turn 3 years old.
When in the teething phase, babies tend to drool a lot more than usual. Too much drool can drip down your baby’s throat during tummy time and cause your baby to cough. If your baby develops a cough, it could be for an assortment of reasons such as allergies, sinusitis, or asthma. In some cases, it could also be due to a bacterial infection.
First, let’s take a look at some of the symptoms you’ll see from your baby while he/she is teething:
- Excess drool
- Chewing or biting foods
- Rubbing their gums
- Turning down nursing or food
- Swollen, red, and sore gums
It’s important for you to listen to your baby’s cough so you have any idea of whether or not it’s coming from excess drool, or it’s coming from a more serious internal issue. Some distinctive cough sounds include barking, wheezing or whooping.
A croup cough occurs when your baby is sleeping. Croup is often caused by a viral infection and will clear up within a few days.
If your baby is experiencing difficulty breathing, or if he or she seems sick or irritable, you should consult your pediatrician.
Pertussis (whooping) is a severe cough that produces a “whoop” sound, which occurs in between the coughing fits. This is often accompanied by difficulty breathing. Although it may start with fever, cold symptoms can often be a precursor.
Whooping cough is a serious condition that can lead to death in infants and young kids. You should immediately seek emergency medical attention if your baby has whooping cough.
A baby suffering from whooping cough will often be admitted to a hospital so that oxygen can be provided during the coughing fits. Sometimes, an antibiotic like erythromycin may be prescribed.
Prevention is the best option for whooping cough. DTaP is the childhood vaccine against whooping cough. Adults and older children get the Tdap booster vaccination.
Coughing and wheezing
Wheezing could be a sign of bronchiolitis or asthma.
Sometimes, bronchiolitis can start with what looks like a simple cold such as a runny nose or cough. It is usually accompanied by a slight fever and a loss of appetite. It is most common in winter and fall.
Children under 2 years of age are not at risk for asthma. If there are allergies or a history of asthma in the family, and if the baby has eczema, then he/she is more likely to develop asthma.
When should you call your pediatrician?
A doctor should examine your baby if he or she has a cough.
While not all coughs in babies older than 4 months are warranted by a doctor, watch out for symptoms like:
- Fever in a baby less than 2 months old
- Fever lasting more than three days in any child of any age
- Labored breathing (fast, wheezing, and shortness of breath)
- Blue lips
- Avoidance of drinking and eating (dehydration)
- Excessive sleepiness or crankiness
However, you should immediately seek emergency medical attention if your baby has whooping cough.
While occasional coughing may be caused by the drool of teething, it is more likely that your baby has another reason for their cough.
It is possible to identify the cause of the cough by noticing a distinct sound in your coughs, such as wheezing, whooping, or barking. It could also indicate that you need to seek immediate medical attention.
Your baby should be examined by a pediatrician if they have a cough or are under 4 months of age.