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Home Remedy for Infant Dry Cough

author image Heather Gloria
Heather Gloria began writing professionally in 1990. Her work has appeared in several professional and peer-reviewed publications including "Nutrition in Clinical Practice." Gloria earned both a Bachelor of Science in food science and human nutrition from the University of Illinois. She also maintains the "registered dietitian" credential and her professional interests include therapeutic nutrition, preventive medicine and women's health.
Home Remedy for Infant Dry Cough
Never use over-the-counter cough medication. Photo Credit: Design Pics/Design Pics/Getty Images

Dry cough causes pain and interferes with rest. Unfortunately, over-the-counter remedies designed to treat it aren’t approved for use in infants. On the bright side, a number of home remedies may combat dry cough in babies. Consult the child’s doctor for a cough that lasts longer than a few days or starts to get better and then becomes worse.

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Optimize the Infant's Environment

Step 1

Open a window to introduce fresh air to the infant’s room. Consider a fan for a stuffy or windowless room.

Step 2

Remind household members not to smoke indoors or outdoors near doors and windows. Refrain from using perfumes, aerosol sprays and other products that might exacerbate the infant’s cough.

Step 3

Keep the room comfortably cool and dress the infant in loose, breathable clothing, changing as needed. Coughing is hard work for an infant and can leave your baby feeling hot and sweaty. Heavy clothing will make the child feel worse and promote fluid loss.

Moisturize the Infant's Airways

Step 1

Add a cool mist humidifier or vaporizer to the infant’s room, advises the American Academy of Pediatrics. Bacteria and mold often grow in humidifier filters. Clean the filter regularly or insert a fresh one before using the device.

Step 2

Provide frequent feedings. Fluid in breast milk or formula soothes irritated tissue in the throat and helps maintain adequate hydration.

Step 3

Use over-the-counter saline nasal spray to moisturize the infant’s nasal passages, followed by bulb suction to withdraw excess fluids or dessicated mucus.

Promote Rest

Step 1

Relieve pain due to dry cough with acetaminophen or ibuprofen in the dose recommended for your child’s age and weight. According to the American Academy of Family Physicians, ibuprofen should be reserved for infants over six months while acetaminophen is appropriate for all ages.

Step 2

Draw shades and turn off lights. Remind other household members to be quiet.

Step 3

Hold or rock the infant, while speaking soothingly or playing soft music in the background. Infants with dry cough are often fussier than normal and have difficulty falling asleep. In fact, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommend that an infant who doesn't want to be held or who becomes lethargic be evaluated in the emergency department.

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