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Natural Cough Suppressants for Children

by
author image Nicole Adams
Nicole Adams is an accomplished writer, publishing in print and online. She has submitted hundreds of articles for websites, including CBS Local and Education.com. Adams earned a Bachelor of Science in psychology with concentrated studies in health and nutrition, and animal behavior and nutrition. She loves to cook and volunteers in animal rescue.
Natural Cough Suppressants for Children
Honey is a natural cough suppressant. Photo Credit George Doyle/Stockbyte/Getty Images

Coughing is a natural occurring reaction in the body that helps to clear the throat and airways. It is not uncommon for a child to get a cough from viruses, such as a cold. Coughing can be mild to severe and either dry or productive. There are a number of reasons why your child may be coughing, and depending on the cough, there are different approaches to suppressing it.

Types of Cough

Natural Cough Suppressants for Children
Cough Photo Credit Stephanie Frey/iStock/Getty Images

A cough that sounds like a seal barking is known as croup. It typically starts in the middle of the night and is usually a result of a virus. Whooping cough is caused by bacteria in the airways and presents with non-stop coughing. The whooping sound happens when your child tries to breathe in after a coughing spell. Asthma and allergies can cause coughing as well. Your child may wheeze if he or she has asthma. Allergy cough tends to be more pronounced at night. A dry, hacking cough may indicate bronchitis or an upper respiratory infection.

Offering Liquids

Natural Cough Suppressants for Children
Photo Credit Andi Berger/iStock/Getty Images

Drinking plenty of fluids will help ease a cough. Juice, water and broth are good options for helping a cough. Hot liquids are also soothing and warm, and sweet liquids can be given to infants to suppress a cough and make it more productive. Honey mixed with warm water is good for treating a cough, but honey should never be given to children under the age of 2.

Herbs for Coughing

Natural Cough Suppressants for Children
Peppermint can be used to calm dry coughs. Photo Credit Serhiy Zavalnyuk/Hemera/Getty Images

The University of Maryland Medical Center website states that peppermint can be used to calm dry coughs due to its main ingredient, menthol. It acts as an expectorant, loosening and breaking up mucus. Eucalyptus, which is found in many over-the-counter throat lozenges, also helps to relieve congestion. Lozenges should not be given to young children, since they can become a choking hazard. Marshmallow, slippery elm, licorice, mullein, sundew, stinging nettle and thyme have all traditionally been used to treat coughing; however, the University of Maryland Medical Center website warns that studies are lacking and there is no scientific evidence to prove the effectiveness of these herbs.

Cool or Warm Mist

Natural Cough Suppressants for Children
Humidifier Photo Credit yocamon/iStock/Getty Images

Many coughs are aggravated by dry air. The Kids Health website suggests running a hot shower and sitting in the closed bathroom with your child for about 20 minutes, as the steam can help your child to breathe easier. Cool mist humidifiers as well as vaporizers can also help your child breathe easier and suppress coughing. Dr. Beckerman cautions against using a vaporizer, since they can be breeding grounds for mold and bacteria.

Additional Considerations

Natural Cough Suppressants for Children
Pediatrician Photo Credit Jupiterimages/Photos.com/Getty Images

Consult your child’s pediatrician if you are concerned about your child’s cough. The pediatrician will be able to diagnose your child and offer the best form of treatment. Contact the doctor immediately if your child is having trouble breathing or cannot stop coughing.

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