CHEST INFECTIONS AND ASTHMA
As young children's immune system isn't as strong as that of an adult's, they are more susceptible to respiratory infections. A cough can be an indication of chest infection, which shouldn't be taken lightly as it can affect breathing and feeding.
Because some chest infection symptoms like coughing, wheezing and breathlessness, can look a lot like asthma symptoms, it is important to have Dr Coetzee have a look to determine which of the two it may be.
The following symptoms typically indicate a chest infection:
- A chesty wet cough
- Coughing up thick yellow or green phlegm
- Chest pain or discomfort
- A high temperature of 38 degrees or above
- Aching muscles
These symptoms can be an indication of chest infections like a cold, croup, pneumonia, bronchitis, bronchiolitis or due to sinusitis or hay fever. Colds cause mucus to run down into the throat, and coughing is often to clear the throat while croup is a viral infection of the larynx that causes a distinctive barking cough. Pneumonia, bronchitis and bronchiolitis, on the other hand, are caused by a virus that makes the airways in the lungs swell and narrow, causing coughing and wheezing. Finally, sinusitis and hay fever may cause a chest infection as they both lead to nasal congestion and post-nasal drip into the throat. Depending on the type and severity of the chest infection, Dr Coetzee may advise antibiotics to treat the infection.
If wheezing and coughing are brought on by activity, or due to an environmental trigger like dust or pollen, and there are no signs of a cold or virus, it may be more likely that asthma is the cause. In these cases, even if it is too soon to be able to give an asthma diagnosis, if Dr Coetzee suspects that asthma is to blame, he may treat the symptoms as if asthma is the cause. The goal with asthma treatment is to keep the symptoms under control so that your child can continue living life as he or she should be, running around and playing without breathing problems. With Dr Coetzee's special interest in asthma, treatment may involve medications reduce the inflammation in the airways as well as an inhaler to use when symptoms present themselves.