When to see a doctorBy Mayo Clinic staff
Call your doctor if you or your child is:
- Coughing up thick, greenish-yellow phlegm
- Experiencing a fever over 100 F (38 C)
- Experiencing shortness of breath
Seek emergency care
Seek emergency care if you or your child is:
- Having difficulty breathing or swallowing
- Coughing up bloody or pink-tinged phlegm
To ease your cough, try these tips:
- Suck cough drops or hard candies. They may ease a dry cough and soothe an irritated throat. Don't give them to a child under age 3, however, because they can cause choking.
- Moisturize the air. Use a vaporizer or take a hot, steamy shower.
- Drink fluids. Liquid helps thin the mucus in your throat. Warm liquids, such as broth or tea, can soothe your throat.
- Cough. National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute. National Institutes of Health. http://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/health/dci/Diseases/cough/cough_all.html. Accessed July 1, 2010.
- Information for patients complaining of cough. American College of Chest Physicians. http://accpstorage.org/newOrganization/patients/cough/adult.pdf. Accessed July 1, 2010.
- Cough symptoms chart. American Academy of Family Physicians. http://familydoctor.org/online/famdocen/home/tools/symptom/516.html. Accessed July 1, 2010.
- Seller RH. Cough. In: Seller RH. Differential Diagnosis of Common Complaints. 5th ed. Philadelphia, Pa.: Saunders Elsevier; 2007:93.
- Moreno MA. Advice for parents: Bronchiolitis and Respiratory Syncytial Virus. Archives of Pediatrics & Adolescent Medicine. 2009;163:1072.
- Bronchiolitis and your child. American Academy of Family Physicians. http://familydoctor.org/online/famdocen/home/children/parents/common/common/020.html. Accessed July 1, 2010.
- Patient information for parents of a child with cough. American College of Chest Physicians. http://accpstorage.org/newOrganization/patients/cough/pediatric.pdf. Accessed July 1, 2010.
- Rosenow EC (expert opinion). Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minn. July 6, 2010.