How to Reassure Callers of Coughing Children for Triage Nurses

Calls from parents about coughing children are the second most common triage call. After ruling out the need for urgent care, it is important to reassure parents, so they won’t take their little one to the Emergency Department.

Drs. Schmitt and Thompson explain how to help parents understand that coughs are almost always viral in origin, so antibiotics won’t help. Parents also need to understand the value of a productive cough, even a severe one, in helping to free the lungs of damaged cells. Although unpleasant, most coughs are normal.

Finally, it is important to note that post-viral coughs may take up to 3 weeks or even longer to disappear, and this is normal.