A cough is a body's defensive mechanism and a way to get rid of irritants in the system. Coughing helps expel mucus and prevents dead cells from settling within the lungs. Coughing can be tied to a common cold, flu and asthma--or a symptom of more serious conditions such as pneumonia or bronchitis. If your toddler does not have a high fever and the cough hasn't been persistent for more than two weeks, home remedies may help alleviate your toddler's cough. Always consult your pediatrician if you have concerns.
Put your toddler down for more naps and rest throughout the day. The body is able to rejuvenate and restore naturally with sleep. Your toddler may be up more in the middle of the night because of his cough, so add an extra nap during the day. Keep the lights low, read books and tell your toddler that he should try and take a nap.
Use a humidifier or cool-mist vaporizer in your toddler's room. The steam moistens the air, moisturizes nasal passages, opens sinuses, and can ease your child's cough. You can also run a very hot shower and let your child sit in the steamy bathroom. Make sure to stay with your child so he doesn't t try and put his hand under the hot water.
Dress your toddler in warmer clothes if it is cold outside rather than cranking up the heat. Heat dries the air out and may increase coughing.
Give your toddler warm fluids. Illness dehydrates the body because so much energy is expended on fighting the infection or virus, so it's important to give your toddler plenty of liquids. Warm water, herb teas and broths soothe the throat, enhance blood flow and replenish fluids wiped out by the illness.
Rub eucalyptus balm on your toddler's chest before naps and bedtime. Eucalyptus vapors clear the breathing passages, relieve congestion, improve circulation, and is a great aromatherapy remedy for your toddler's cough. Look for a balm that uses all-natural plant extracts.
Keep an eye on your toddler's cough after she consumes cow's milk. Some children have allergies to cow's milk that prolong congestion and can aggravate a cough. Be aware of how cow's milk affects, or doesn't affect, your child's congestion and cough. If you suspect an allergy, talk with your toddler's pediatrician about other options to milk.
Give a teaspoonful of honey before naps or bedtime if your child is over the age of one.
- "Baby & Child Health"; Jennifer Shu, M.D., FAAP; 2004
- "Healthy Child, Whole Child"; Stuart H. Ditchek, M.D. & Russell H. Greenfield, M.D.; 2009
- "Disease-Proof Your Child"; Joel Fuhrman, M.D.; 2005
- BabyCenter: Coughing