During the winter season, many children succumb to viral infections. Many children can suffer from colds during the first two years. Even though fever is long gone, many children still continue to suffer from coughing. It is important to note that parents often wonder if there are ways to provide relief to the persistent coughing. There are several readily available remedies that can be used such as cough suppressants, honey, cough expectorant, hot steam and using a humidifier or vaporizer. It is best to consult a doctor first before using any over-the-counter cough medications if the child has shortness of breath, cough, wheezing or cough that lasts for more than two weeks.
Cough suppressant syrup
It is important to note that cough suppressant syrup can be given once the coughing is disrupting the daily activities or sleeping habits of the child. Nevertheless, if the cough is productive which means the child is bringing up mucus with the cough, it is not always advisable to suppress the cough since coughing serves as the natural way of the body to clear bacteria and viruses as well as eliminating the mucus. The commonly used cough suppressants include those that contain dextromethorphan which is available over-the-counter or prescription options that contain codeine.
Based on a study conducted, it was discovered that honey is more effective in minimizing the severity as well as the frequency of night time coughing among children compared to the standard cough syrup suppressant. If you are going to use honey, you have to give half-teaspoon to children 2-5 years old while one teaspoon to children 6-11 years old. Children 12 years and older can be given 2 teaspoons of honey.
Children who have coughing that seem like barking or croupy-sounding, hot steam can help him/her breathe easily. All you have to do is to bring the child to the bathroom and turn on the hot water in the shower and close the bathroom door. You can even sit with the child in the bathroom for about 20 minutes. In case the child experiences difficulty breathing, exhibiting stridor or turning bluish in color, you have to seek medical care right away. If you want to learn how to effectively use hot steam, read here.
Cough expectorants typically contain guaifenesin and works by thinning out and loosening the mucus, thus making cough more productive. Take note that a cough expectorant is beneficial for a child who is producing mucus with the cough. This is available as liquid syrup or a capsule or tablet.
Humidifier or steam vaporizer
A cooling mist humidifier that is placed in the bedroom of the child at night can help him/her sleep by soothing the dry and irritated throat as well as loosening the mucus. Take note that a humidifier is effective when the air is dry such as during winter. If the air is dry, it can initiate coughing. You can also use a steam vaporizer since it also provides the similar effect.