Cough is the most common ailment in children, especially in winters. It can be distressing and frustrating for your child to deal with this harrowing hack. Coughs are of different types- barky cough, whooping cough, and dry cough. The major causes of cough are upper respiratory infection, common cold, sinusitis, acid reflux and asthma. It is accompanied with several symptoms such as difficulty swallowing, sound while breathing, runny/stuffy nose, chest tightness, lethargy, wheezing, difficulty breathing, restlessness and fever. You should avoid over-the counter medications, particularly, if your tot is less than 4 years, as they may result in side-effects. Several ingredients available in your kitchen can spill magic. You must consult a doctor immediately, in case, cough persists for more than a week and the kid has chest pain, blood while coughing, turns red or purple, and high fever.
Here are some home and herbal remedies to treat cough in children.
Home Remedies for Cough in Kids
Honey soothes throat inflammation in children and suppresses cough, in a natural manner. Dosage hinges on your child’s age. If your tot is 2-5 years old, give ½ teaspoon, and if s/he is more than 12 years old, give 2 teaspoons of honey. It is suggested to give this therapeutic ingredient before bedtime.
- Refrain from giving honey to infants below 1 year as it may cause botulism.
- Avoid buying honey cough syrups from the medical stores, as they contain chemical preservatives which alter its “natural flavor”.
2. Lemon Juice
A combination of 1 teaspoon each of fresh lemon juice and honey in 1 cup of warm water can also work great. Give this solution to your child twice or thrice a day.
Mix ¼ teaspoon each of cayenne pepper and crushed ginger, 1 tablespoon each of apple cider vinegar and honey. Add 2 tablespoons of water to this mixture. Give 2 teaspoons of this syrup to your little one.
4. Apple Cider Vinegar
Take a glass of water. Add 1 teaspoon each of honey and apple cider vinegar to it. Stir well. It’s one of the best remedies for quick relief from cough for kids.
Give your toddler a steam bath. Run a hot shower and shut the doors of the bathroom. Sit inside with your kid at least for fifteen minutes before going to bed at night. It will not only help getting rid of cough, but also provides sound sleep. In the morning, repeat the same procedure for 15 minutes. It will loosen nasal and chest congestion, and make it easy for the child to blow the cough out.
- Or else, add a few drops of sage or eucalyptus oil into the tub filled with warm water. Bathe your child with this water, in order to open up the chest and soothe a cough.
6. Keep Her Head in Upright Position
If the age of your baby is more than one, put a few pillows underneath his/her head, back and shoulders so as to keep head elevated. It will facilitate easy breathing.
7. Use a Humidifier
Run a cool-mist humidifier for a night in your child’s room. It will keep the airways of the tot moist and clear. Open the windows in the morning to let humid air go out of the room, otherwise, it may result in the growth of molds.
8. Chicken Soup
Serve warm chicken soup to your kid. According to a research, chicken soup has anti-inflammatory properties that temporarily thin mucus, relieves congestion, soothes throat and reduces cough. It also effectively alleviates the symptoms associated with cold.
9. Let Him/ Her Rest
Cough can exhaust a child, as it requires a lot of energy to wrestle with an infection. The more your child will rest, the sooner s/he will recover.
10. Keep Your Baby Well Hydrated
Assist your baby drink lots of water and other fluids such as decaffeinated tea, warm or cold juice. Fluids thin the secretions of the body and make it easy to blow the nose and cough.
11. Suction Bulb
Take a suction bulb, squeeze it, put it inside one nostril of your baby and release gently. It clears the airways and stuffy nose by removing the clogged mucus. Utilize it in a gap of few hours. It works wonders for 6 months old or even younger kids.
12. Warm Saline Water
Take a cup of warm tap water and add ½ teaspoon table salt to it. Put 2-3 drops of this saline water in each nostril one-by-one. Now, ask your child to blow. This remedy will clear the nasal congestion.
- Alternatively, fill a neti pot with warm salt water. Tilt the head of the child to one side and put the pot’s spout inside the nostril. Allow the water to flow through the nasal cavity gently. It will flow out from the other nostril. Instruct your child to breath via mouth during the rinsing process. Repeat the same procedure on the other side of nostril.
- Ask your baby to gargle with warm saline water twice or thrice a day. Add a few drops of lemon juice to make it tasty.
13. Suck on Popsicle
If your child is 4 years old or more, you can give him/her sugar-free hard candies, frozen berries, Popsicle, cough lozenges or crushed ice to suck on. These cold things will relieve him/her from scratchy throat.
Herbal Remedies for Cough in Children
Herbal remedies are free from side-effects and works wonders for kids.
14. Vapour Rub
Massage vapor rub or balms containing essential oils, beeswax, aloe and other herbs on the back, neck and chest of the child. Don’t apply it around the eyes, nose or anywhere else on his/her face.
- You can also prepare your own chest rub. What all you need to do is mix a drop each of sage, peppermint and eucalyptus essential oil in 2 tablespoons of organic olive oil. Massage it gently on the chest and neck of the kid.
15. Herbal Cough Syrup
- In one quart of filtered water, add 1 tablespoon cinnamon, ¼ cup marshmallow root, ¼ cup chamomile flowers and ¼ cup dried or fresh grated ginger root. Boil it down till the solution reduces to half. Strain it. Mix honey and lemon juice when the liquid is warm. Let it cool. You can store it for 2 months, in an airtight container and place it in the refrigerator. Give 1 teaspoon to the child when required.
- Steep 1 teaspoon each of thyme leaves and fenugreek seeds, ½ lemon (cut up and deseeded), 1 tablespoon of feverfew in 1½ cups of water for at least half an hour. Strain the liquid. Simmer the resultant liquid till it reduces to 1 cup. Then, add 2 tablespoons of vegetable glycerine and 2 cups of honey. Allow it to cool. Transfer it in a jar and store this jar in the refrigerator. Give one teaspoon for a 50 lbs. baby, two teaspoons for a 75 lb kid and one tablespoon for a 100 lb. tot, every 4 hours.
- Steep 1 tablespoon each of oregon grape root, mullein, thyme, pleurisy root and cherry bark in 1 quart of water for ½ an hour. Strain it and again put on flames. Turn off heat when the liquid reduces to 1 pint. Add two pints of honey in warm solution. Give one teaspoon to a 50 lbs. kid, two teaspoons to a 75 lbs child and one tablespoon to a 100 lbs child, every 4 hours. It will alleviate dry cough.
- Horehound has been used since ages to cure cough in children owing to its expectorant properties. A compound, called marrabiin, found in horehound triggers the secretion of bronchi and aids unclogging the nasal congestion. Take a pint of boiling water and add 1 ounce of horehound leaves (dried) to it. Steep for ten minutes and then strain. Finally, mix honey (twice as much as liquid). You can keep it in refrigerator for 2 months. Give ½ to 1 teaspoon to your child, 4 times per day.
- In 1½ cups of water, add one teaspoon each of lemon balm leaves, thyme leaves, horehound leaves, marshmallow root, rose hips, mullein leaves and licorice root. Steep the mixture for 30 minutes. Strain it and add ¼ cup vegetabe glycerin, 1 cup organic fruit syrup or brown rice syrup and 1 cup honey. When the liquid cools down, fill it in a jar and place the jar in the refrigerator. For a 50 lbs. child, 1 teaspoon would suffice. If your kid is 75 lbs. or 100 lbs, give 2 teaspoons and 1 tablespoon, respectively.
16. Herbal Decoction
Prepare a decoction by combining equal amount of Acorus calamus roots, Cuminum cyminum seeds and Coriandrum sativum leaves. Give 10 ml of this decoction to your kid after meal.
17. Herbal Powder
Take Cyperus rotundus roots, Pistacia chinensis leaves, Piper longum fruit, Aconitum ferox bud and Ocimum sancum root. Churn them into a powdered form. Give it to the kid along with honey.
18. Allium Cepa
Mix 1 teaspoon of Allium cepa juice with1½ teaspoon of honey. Leave it for 3-4 hours and then give it to the child. It will give immense relief in cough and cold.
19. Abrus precatorius
Scrub 10 grams of roots of this herb in 10 ml of water. Give it to your kid two times a day for at least 3 days.
20. Aloe barbadensis
Roast some leaves of Aloe barbadensis and extract its juice. Add Syzgium aromaticum powder and honey to it. Give this to your kid 2 times a day.
21. Anise Seed
Anise loosens the secretions of bronchi, thereby making it easy for the child to cough up. Take 1½ cups of boiling water and add 1 tablespoon of crushed anise seed to it. Let it steep for ½ an hour. Strain it. Simmer the liquid till it reduces to 1 cup. Then, add two cups of honey. When it cools, transfer it in a jar and store it in the fridge. You can keep it for 2 months. Give ½ teaspoon to your baby to soothe cough.
22. Herbal Tea
- Mix 1 table spoon each of dried thyme leaves, mullein and white horehound. Store this mixture in a jar. When required, steep 1-2 teaspoons of this herbal mixture in 1 cup of boiling water for 8-10 minutes. Use ½ cup for 25 lbs. children and 1 cup for 50 lbs. kids, thrice a day. It’s one of the best remedies for whooping cough.
- Take 1 cup of hot water and add ½ teaspoon of licorice root to it. Steep it for ten minutes and then strain. Give 1-2 cups each day to your child. The expectorant and anti-inflammatory properties of the licorice will soothe the symptoms associated to cough.
- Prepare lemon balm tea by steeping 2 teaspoons of lemon balm leaves (dried) in 1 cup of boiling water. Strain the tea and give it to your little one. It is considered as one of the excellent herbal remedies.
- In a cup of boiling water, steep 2 teaspoons of dried hyssop for 10-12 minutes. Finally, strain it. Feed the tea hot to your baby, in order to relieve congestion.
- Teach your child to wash his/her hands frequently. Ensure that s/he scrubs well. When you are on the go, use sanitizers or alcohol-based hand wipes.
- If your baby has caught cough, there are chances that other family members may get sick because virus spreads rapidly from one person to another. So, be extra vigilant about hygiene and cleanliness of your house.
- Don’t smoke when your kid is suffering from cough and cold, as it may irritate the airways making it difficult for the child to breathe. Besides, keep him/her away from other sources of smoke, like wood-burning fires and grills.
- Avoid use of nasal decongestion sprays or other over-the-counter medications without doctor’s consultation.