A lingering cough likely is caused by postnasal drip, which occurs when mucus from the nose and sinuses drains down the throat. So as long as your child doesn’t have a fever and is not uncomfortable, going back to school is a reasonable expectation.
Tell your child to drink plenty of water throughout the day: It helps to keep the airways hydrated and soothes an irritated throat. This is especially important for children who attend schools with indoor heating systems. As heat is piped into the classroom, the air can become very dry.
Continue to monitor your child’s cough for any changes. If you notice any of these red-flag symptoms, take your child to the doctor:
- A wheezing or whistling cough. If your child makes a wheezing or whistling sound when coughing, the lower airways might be swollen due to an infection, such as bronchitis or asthma.
- A cough with a high fever. Coughs accompanied by a fever of 102º F (38.8º C) or higher might indicate pneumonia.
- A persistent cough. If the cough lasts longer than a week, your child might have asthma, allergies, or a chronic sinus infection.