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Child has cough, sore throat and chest tightness. Could it be due to week immune system?

Dec 2012
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General & Family Physician
Practicing since : 2012
Answered : 1704 Questions
I live in Mexico and have a 4 year old. We often go swimming in XXXXXXX rivers and the ocean and afterwards, she is always coughing (chest tight) with a sore throat but will change to coughing up flem after several days. It starts the same night as swimming and lasts 1-2 weeks but isn't like a cold with nose/eye symtoms. We wait until she has no cough (3-4 weeks) and try it again and the same thing happens. No other children seem to have problems and it's always warm where we live but she doesn't sleep with a fan or AC. Does she have a week immune system or could she be swallowing microbes in the water water? Microbes would be unusual because an artesian spring (drinkable) does the same thing. Seems like upper respiratory problem but is it from external chilling or XXXXXXX ingesting. How do we find out? What do we do?
Posted Sun, 17 Mar 2013 in Lung and Chest disorders
Answered by Dr. Nsah Bernard 1 hour later

Thanks for posting up your query,

It seems from your description that your daughter is having recurrent bronchitis (inflammation of the bronchi) which is due more commonly to viral infection but could also be as a result of bacteria infection. if the infection recurs it is simply because an acute exacerbation by the cold water (i.e the inert virus reactivates and provokes the coughing). Your daughter might be incubating the virus in her lungs and not necessarily because she has a weak immune system. But very early ages of life, some children manifest much more weaker immune systems as compared to others, so can explain also the fact that she is the only one who presents with the diseases.
Other acute causes of her cough like pneumonia could be evoked and excluded.
What to do? Just don't leave her swim with her chest wide open or in too cold water.

Hope this helps and let me know if you have any further questions.
Best wishes to your daughter.
Dr Nsah
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