Let’s talk…coughs

‘Tis the season ya’ll. Is cold/flu season any better in warmer places like Arizona, California or Florida (sadly I have a feeling the answer is no)? If so, I say we pack it up for the season and do school out there cuz I am done this stuff! Can I get an Amen?!

In light of all the kiddos at my school (and schools all over the country) coming down with Strep throat, pneumonia, the flu, and the common cold I feel the need to encourage some heavy-duty acts of prevention.

AND…when you’re kiddos come in to see me there are really only a couple things I can do to help them.

  1. Give them cough syrup if you’ve authorized it (I have Delsym cough syrup on hand) or give them a cough syrup you bring in yourself (and make sure you’ve gotten and filled out the appropriate form).
  2. Cough drops, ice, water

If your kiddo is running a fever they’re coming straight home. If your kiddo is hacking up a lung (and sometimes their lunch) and it prevents them from concentrating in school chances are I’m going to be calling you to pick them up.

Cover Up

This isn’t going to be a long one but it’s worth mentioning the simple act of coughing because it’s one of the easiest ways to catch anything from the common cold to Strep throat to Chickenpox. Hence the reason why it’s soooooo important to contain it appropriately.

Best way to cough? In a vacuum. Totally kidding, ha! Seriously though…organizations like the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and Communicable Disease Branch of the Colorado Department of Public Health & Environment (CDPHE) have bullet point lists of the steps to take when it comes to appropriately containing the fluids spewing from your mouth (yep, I said bullet point & body fluids in one sentence…does anyone else love bullet points like I do??):

  • cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when you cough or sneeze
  • put used tissues in the trash (not in your shirt sleeve like your grandma and no using hankies…does anyone still do that?)
  • if a tissue is not available, cough or sneeze into your upper sleeve or elbow, instead of the hands
  • wash your hands often using proper technique


Types of Coughs

  1. Whooping Cough (aka Pertussis)– this one is caused by the Bordatella pertussis bacteria and sounds like a high-pitched whoop (hence the name) at the end of the cough, almost like a gasping sound.
  2. Croup- typically caused by a group of cute little viruses (just kidding, they’re not that cute) called human parainfluenza viruses (HIPVs) and sometimes respiratory viruses like respiratory syncytial virus (RSV). This is the cough that sounds like a seal bark.
  3. Dry cough– this may be from something as simple (and annoying) as the common cold, to the flu, to pneumonia, to asthma, to environmental irritants. This is what we call a non-productive cough…you’re not coughing up mucous.
  4. Wet cough– this is a productive cough, meaning you’re coughing up some gross crud. There are lots of reasons why this could be happening, some of which you may want to check in with your doctor about and some which are not really a concern. Want to know those reasons? Click here.

Wanna hear what these each sound like? You’re in luck, check out the video below:


Stop spewing your spit…

For real. I know it’s sometimes hard to remember to cover your mouth but do yourself and all your friends and strangers in the immediate vicinity a favor…cover your mouth! Check out this visual (even though I’m not talking Ebola or Measles)…it’s pretty gross when you think about it.


What you’re looking at is the difference between droplet and airborne transmission. The large red dots are what happens when something (usually a virus) is contained in droplet of saliva and is spewed out. It generally falls to the ground and can land up to 3 feet away from your cute little mouth. Those fun little microorganisms that are “skinnier” have a tendency to float around the air and can travel farther. So when you cough/sneeze uncovered your some of your cooties can literally infect a person up to 6 feet away and can even last long enough for someone to catch minutes, or even hours after you’ve done your thang! GROSS!

Moral of the Story

It doesn’t matter what kind of cough you have…cover your mouth with a tissue or your inner elbow please!

That is all!



Questionnaire Time

How many of your have been sick at least once with one of the issues listed above since the beginning of 2017? And for those of you who have been sick, how many of your family members caught the same thing?

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