One commercial airs regularly on TV that is sure to clear a room filled with health care professionals. The stridor cough of an infant resonating in the background while the product being advertised takes center stage. Such noise is akin to fingernails dragged along a chalkboard.
Indeed the cough is back, as is the traditional winter illness entourage which sneaks its way into our homes each year at this time. Several of the old familiar maladies can be expected: the “flu”, strep throat and even RSV (once a rare illness afflicting children, now common for the winter months). Accompanying these illnesses is that nasty cough, along with fever, malaise and cold-like symptoms. It is when these common symptoms escalate into more serious symptoms, such as those seen with RSV and croup, that astute action need be taken.
Particularly is this the case with the child or infant cough. Coughing that mimics a seal barking or whistling indicates the child’s airway is narrowing and oxygen is being depleted. This is the time for medical treatment. The gentle “grunt” of an infant (sounding like a rhythmic “uh-uh-uh”) is the infant’s attempt at keeping his alveoli open and lungs filled with air – definitely an emergency.
Fortunately, pre-hospital responders are prepared to address these kinds of situations with infants and children alike. Calling 9-1-1 for respiratory concerns is always appropriate. Training courses provided for hospital personnel, such as PALS Classes in Orange County, are readily available and required for emergency healthcare workers in a hospital setting.
It is this kind of support and training that allows parents to relax through these winter months knowing that the help they need will be available. Coughs like those aired on TV are rare but remedied by those prepared and the winter months can be enjoyed without worry.