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"My daughter's cough won't go away, what should we do?"


My daughter started to be sick about 2 weeks ago , she had a small fever for one day then it seemed like a cold. when the cold turned to a bad cough we took her to docs. they said she had bronchitis and gave her an inhaler and antibiotics. She started to get better then spent night at my parents house (who smoke) and came home sick. we put her on another course of antibiotics and her inhaler and it still seems like its not much better, it is a bit better but not gone, she has two more days of antibiotics left. what is wrong why won't the cough go away and is it something worse than bronchitis??


The course of your daughter's illness sounds typical for bronchitis. Bronchitis is an infection of the lower airways and can cause wheezing, runny nose, cough, sore throat, and fever. The infection is almost always due to a virus, and thus the antibiotics that you daughter received probably did not help.

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The exception to this would be if she had a concurrent ear infection (which does require antibiotics). The post-viral syndrome cough can last 3-4 weeks, and certainly would have been worsened when she was exposed to the cigarette smoke. One strategy that I use in my adult patient is a short 10 day course of a steroid inhaler. This will calm the left over inflammation in her lungs and increase the rate of recovery. In addition, a nasal spray can be used to clear up the nasal drip that often comes along with this syndrome and can exacerbate the cough. A key factor here is your daughter's age, as some of these inhalers can't be used by really young children. I suggest that you schedule an appointment with your daughter's pediatrician. He or she perform a thorough physical exam of your daughter's upper and lower airways and rule out more dangerous causes of her cough such as pneumonia. Finally, her doctor can prescribe any additional medications that will hasten her recovery.

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