You’ve just tucked your toddler in bed and are getting ready for a movie night with your hubby when out of nowhere you hear a soft cough. You ignore it thinking it’s nothing, but suddenly your baby’s sleepy and soft humming turns into dry, loud coughs. Their drowsiness soon turns into irritation, and you don’t know what to do.
If you’re looking for simple ways that can provide instant relief from a cough in situations like these, you’ve landed at the right place with sufficient information about cold and flu! Take a look at some simple cough relief solutions that you can try at home.
1.Lemon and honey
Do you know that the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommends honey for treating cough in children above 1 year? Yes, that’s true. Honey has proven extremely effective in suppressing cough. It contains an ingredient called dextromethorphan that is widely used in OTC cough medicines. It helps break up mucus.
However, you can’t just use any honey. Search for raw, dark amber, or buckwheat honey. Studies show that dark-colored honey is more effective for cough treatment than light-colored ones.
To make a cough syrup from honey and lemon, mix 1 tsp. of lemon juice with 1 tbsp. of honey. Give it to your little one once a day. Lemon’s astringent properties help clear up mucus and also simultaneously provide vitamin C.
Avoid purchasing honey cough syrups from the drug store as they contain preservatives. You can also make ginger tea, and add a tsp. of lemon and honey to it. It will act as a soothing syrup and provide relief from a cough.
2.Rub essential oils
Rubbing essential oils on chest provides relief from nasal and chest congestion. Despite its healing properties, essential oils should not be applied directly on the skin of children younger than 6 years.
Mix a drop of any essential oil with 1 tbsp of organic olive oil and slowly rub it on your baby’s chest or on the cloth covering the chest. Also, read the labels on essential oils for safety purposes. Avoid using salves that contain petrochemicals. Go for the ones that have all-natural ingredients.
3.Cut out dairy and fatty foods
In traditional Chinese medicine, mucous is considered an alternate form of dampness. Foods that are rich in fat, fried foods, and dairy items like cheese, yogurt, and milk can trigger production of excess mucus.
Therefore when your baby is sick, exclude all dairy items and fried, fatty foods from their diet especially if their cough is wet and phlegmy. It will decrease the mucus and reduce the pressure of removing it through a cough. Nevertheless, if your infant is completely dependent on milk, do not eliminate it from their diet.
4.Keep them hydrated
What’s the first thing that the doctor tells you when you’re down with a cough and go for a checkup? Drink more fluids. Staying hydrated benefits children as much as it benefits adults. Why is that so? Drinking plenty of water suppresses cough symptoms by moistening the mucous membranes and thinning mucus secretions. In dilute form, mucus is easier to pass through the body. It becomes exceptionally effective when coughing is a result of a postnasal drip or dryness.
Therefore, keep your child hydrated as much as you can. Keep a water bottle by their bed, so that they remember to stock up on fluids.
5.Steam it up
Steaming is one of the most ancient and effective remedies for treating cough. Breathing in steamy, moist air can loosen up the mucous and relieve cough symptoms. Boil a pan full of water, make your child sit near the pan, use a towel to cover their head, and ask them to take long deep breaths. Continue the practice for 3 – 5 minutes.
If your child is not at ease with this method, help them take a steamy shower before bedtime. Start a warm shower, shut the door, and let the washroom get steamy. If available, add a few drops of sage or eucalyptus to the hot bath or shower and let them inhale the steam. It provides instant relief from a cough.
6.Breathe in the fresh air
Cool, the fresh night air is good for loud, barking cough. If your child is suffering from ‘barking seal,’ a type of a cough, take them out for a stroll. Or better yet take a drive in the car with windows cracked open. If it’s cold outside, make them wear layers to stay warm. Fresh air will not only provide relief from a constant cough, but it will also relax nerves, make them feel calm, and ease sleep.
Know when you need to see a doctor
Home remedies work most of the time, but in case they are not working, it’s important to see a pediatrician right away. Here’s when you should contact one:
- Your toddler makes a musical or noisy sound (stridor) when breathing in
- They have a barking cough
- 102 degrees or higher fever accompanies a cough
- A cough has been going on for over 2 weeks
- They’re coughing up blood
- A ‘whooping’ sound comes up when they try to breathe in after coughing
- Their breathing out is synonymous with panting
If your kid is having difficulty in breathing and their face is getting blue, call 911 immediately.