5 Baby-Safe Cough Remedies Every Parent Should Know About
While cough medicine in syrup or tablet form may work for adults and older children, dealing with a cough will be very different when it comes to your toddler or baby. Remember that children below two years old shouldn’t be given the over-the-counter drugs you would use – you should consult his pediatrician to obtain medication if necessary.
Instead of dealing with your little one’s cough the way you would for yourself, you could try looking for alternative remedies that won’t put his health at risk.
Below are five ways how you can help ease his cough naturally:
Humidify Your Home
Ever wondered why your little one seems to cough more when he’s sleeping? This is because the air inside the confines of your house is drier than it is outside.
To help alleviate his condition, you can plug in a humidifier in the room where he spends the most time. This will ensure that the air has enough moisture and prevent his throat from getting irritated. This can also help with a stuffy nose.
When using a humidifier, you should make sure to change the water every day to keep it free from bacteria, viruses, and dust that can make his condition worse. It is also recommended that you only use clean water – distilled or purified, if possible – in your humidifier for the same reason.
Another way you can deal with irritated throat and nose due to dry air is by running a warm shower. If your little one is old enough, you can have him sit in the bathroom while the shower is running. The warm mist produced during the process will help moisturize his nasal airways and, thus, ease his cough and a stuffy nose.
Use Honey at the Right Age
Honey is an effective natural solution for a child’s cough.
However, you must remember never to offer it to babies below one-year-old. Aside from not being an effective treatment, it may even result in an illness called infant botulism. Of course, if your child has already celebrated his first birthday, you can have him take two milliliters or half a teaspoon of honey to ease his cough whenever needed.
Give Him Lots of Fluids
Children with coughs should be kept hydrated throughout the condition. The intake of plenty of fluids will effectively make the mucus thinner, loose, and easier to expel.
You can have him drink milk, water, or juice, but if he prefers warm liquids to soothe his sore throat, you can offer him soup, hot chocolate, or warm apple juice. Be careful not to give him these while they’re still hot though to avoid scorching his tongue and lips.
For babies below six months old, offering more breast milk or infant formula than usual should do the trick. At this age, they should not be given juice or water yet.
Make Him Sleep on an Incline
Sleeping on an incline has been a proven solution for adults with a stuffy nose and incessant coughing. But did you know that this is also effective in easing your child’s cough?
Lying him down at an angle allows unhindered passing of air through the airways. It also ensures that the mucus and postnasal drainage swallowed doesn’t go back up and cause throat irritation which can result in coughing.
However, pillows may not be the best choice if you have a child younger than one-year-old as it might cause him to suffocate. Since the goal is to create a slight angle so that his head is raised, you can put blocks or hard books about 10 centimeters thick beneath the two legs under the head of his bed or crib. This will achieve the goal without the risk of smothering your little one.
Offer Easy-to-Swallow Foods
If your little one is old enough to eat but is suffering from a cough, he may turn down food that is dry and difficult to swallow because it can irritate his scratchy throat. To keep him adequately nourished without making his throat feel painful, offer him foods that are smooth, soft, and easy-to-swallow.
Children old enough to eat solids can be offered purees, soft fruit or vegetables, pudding, applesauce, or yogurt. However, you must stick to breast milk or infant formula if you have a baby aged six months or younger.
One More Piece of Advice for Parents
Although seeing your child’s little frame shaking from a cough may be an excruciating sight, you should understand that all well-researched, basic information about coughs indicates that treatment may not always be needed. Remember that coughing is the body’s way to expel foreign substances and mucus from the body, making it necessary for your little one’s recovery.
Only deal with symptoms if your child is uncomfortable in any way. If he is having trouble sleeping because of this cough, try one or more of these baby-safe home remedies. However, if his condition gets worse or doesn’t get better for a while, it is best to call your family doctor or bring him to a pediatrician immediately.