Coughing is the body's way of ridding the airways of excess mucus. While most coughs do not need to be suppressed, coughing is irritating and can cause a sore throat, sore chest muscles and loss of sleep. If your child has a severe, persistent cough, a high fever or underlying health issues, contact her pediatrician. Treat mild, dry coughs at home using safe and effective home remedies.
Bring In the Moisture
If your child has a cough that sounds like barking, he may have croup. You can treat mild croup at home. Take him into the bathroom, shut the door and run the shower with the hottest water possible. Sit in the bathroom with him and allow him to inhale the hot, steamy air for about ten minutes, recommends FamilyDoctor.org. Another way to humidify the air is to use a humidifier in your child's bedroom. If he starts showing signs of respiratory distress, such as making wheezing sounds, having trouble swallowing or getting a blue or dark tinge on his fingernails and around his mouth and lips, seek emergency care.
Honey, It's Not Just For Bears
If your child is having trouble sleeping due to a cough, give him up to 2 tsps. of honey before bed. Honey is as effective a cough suppressant as those sold over-the-counter containing dextromethorphan, according to HealthyChildren.org. If your child likes tea, try making her a warm cup sweetened with honey to also soothe her throat. Honey can be dangerous for babies under one year of age, because it can cause infant botulism. Only try this remedy with children over a year old.
If your child's cough is stemming from a ticklish throat, cough drops or cool drinks may calm the irritation. Kids Health suggests avoiding carbonated beverages and orange juice, as they can sting an already sore throat. Remember to never give children under four cough drops or hard candy, because they are a choking hazard in young children.
Try Someting Herbal
Some herbal remedies may help to calm a child's cough. Before trying any herbal or alternative remedies, contact your child's pediatrician. Some remedies may be inappropriate for your child's age, or may react with other medications that he is taking. Peppermint contains menthol, which is a natural decongestant, and can act as an expectorant as well. Eucalyptus is another popular remedy for colds and coughs. Some cough ointments, including Vicks VapoRub, are made from menthol and eucalyptus together. Other herbal remedies for coughs, according to the University of Maryland Medical Center, include slippery elm, licorice, sundew and thyme.