Home Emergencies: preparadness and reponse Injury prevention Child protection HIV and AIDS Malaria Hygiene Coughs, colds and more serious illnesses Diarrhoea Immunization Nutrition and growth Breastfeeding Child development and early learning Safe motherhood and newborn health Timing births
Facts for Life

Coughs, colds and more serious illnesses

Key Messages: What every family and community has a right to know

 
  1. A child with a cough or cold should be kept warm and encouraged to eat and drink as much as possible.

  2. Sometimes, coughs are signs of a serious problem. A child who is breathing rapidly or with difficulty might have pneumonia, an infection of the lungs. This is a life-threatening disease. The child needs immediate treatment from a trained health worker, who can also provide a referral to a health facility.

  3. Families can help prevent pneumonia by making sure babies are exclusively breastfed for the first six months and that all children are well nourished and fully immunized.

  4. A child who has a prolonged cough that persists for more than three weeks needs immediate medical attention. The child may have tuberculosis, an infection in the lungs.

  5. Children and pregnant women exposed to smoke from tobacco or cooking fires are particularly at risk of pneumonia or other breathing illnesses.