Article at a glance:
Fact: In healthy children, most coughs are caused by a viral infection from influenza, croup, or a cold. Antibiotics only work on bacteria and won’t help with a viral infection. It is not a good idea to use antibiotics unless they are needed. Antibiotics can weaken your immune system and cause side effects like diarrhea, vomiting, and nausea. Overusing antibiotics can also cause antibiotic resistance, making future infections harder to fight.
Fact: The average cough lasts 18 days, but it is not uncommon for coughs to last up to 3 weeks. In fact, coughing is helpful because it protects the lungs from pneumonia.
Fact: Coughing up phlegm is a normal part of the healing process, no matter if it is clear, grey, yellow, or green. It does not indicate that there is a bacterial infection or that antibiotics are needed.
Call your doctor if your child:
If your child has a chronic cough, it might be allergies, asthma, or reflux. Schedule an appointment with your doctor to find out the best treatment.