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Child's Persistent Cough? Watch Out for These 5 Diseases

Have you ever had a child who suffered from a persistent cough that never seemed to go away? As a parent, you shouldn't take this condition lightly. A chronic cough in children could indicate a more serious underlying disease. So, what are the illnesses that can cause a child's cough to persist?

1. Whooping Cough

Whooping cough is an infection caused by bacteria that affects the lungs and respiratory system, and it is highly contagious. People who have whooping cough can experience coughing that lasts for months. The duration of the cough has earned it the nickname "the 100-day cough."

Whooping cough can be life-threatening, particularly in older adults and children, especially babies who have not yet received the pertussis vaccine. It can be recognized by a series of hard coughs that occur repeatedly, accompanied by a long, deep breath through the mouth (whoop).

The first phase of whooping cough is when the infection is most contagious. During the second phase, older people should be careful not to delay getting medical treatment, as this phase has the highest risk of death.

2. Pneumonia

Pneumonia is an infection caused by the Streptococcus pneumoniae bacterium that affects the lungs' gas exchange unit, the alveoli. In Indonesia, pneumonia is also known as "paru-paru basah" (wet lungs). This condition can occur in one or both lungs, causing small air sacs at the end of the respiratory tubes in the lungs to become inflamed and filled with fluid.

3. Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD)

Another cause of persistent coughing in children is chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), which causes the lungs to produce an excessive amount of mucus. The most common symptom of this disease is a persistent cough with phlegm that is slightly yellow or green.

Emphysema is one type of COPD that can cause constant coughing. This lung disorder can be a source of fear for many people. According to the National Health Interview Survey in the United States, at least two million people in the country have emphysema.

4. Tuberculosis

Tuberculosis (TB) is a disease that attacks the lungs. It's important to be careful with this disease because it can be fatal if not treated properly. Those who are not checked and treated can become a source of transmission to those around them.

Remember not to underestimate this disease. As explained above, in many cases, TB can cause death in those who have it. One of the most common symptoms of TB is a persistent cough that lasts for three weeks or more.

Mycobacterium tuberculosis is the culprit behind this lung disease, caused by an infection from bacteria. Although it can be transmitted through droplets from a person's cough or sneeze, TB transmission requires close and prolonged contact with an infected person. In other words, it is not as easily transmitted as the flu.

Beware, Mycobacterium tuberculosis can grow and cause damage to the alveoli. Without timely and appropriate treatment, the bacteria can spread through the bloodstream and eventually attack the kidneys, spinal cord, and brain, leading to death.

5. Other Conditions

Apart from the four diseases mentioned above, a persistent cough in children can be caused by other conditions, such as asthma or allergies.

As a parent, it is essential to monitor your child's cough and observe other symptoms that may arise. If your child has a persistent cough that lasts longer than a few weeks or has other concerning symptoms, you should seek medical attention immediately.


  1. Mayo Clinic. Accessed in 2021. Diseases and Conditions. Chronic Cough.
  2. WebMD. Retrieved 2021. Your Child's Cough.
  3. Healthline. Accessed 2021. Tuberculosis.
  4. Mayo Clinic. Retrieved 2021. Pneumonia.
  5. Medscape. Accessed 2021. Drugs & Diseases. Pertussis.

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