During the winter season, many children are likely to give in to a viral infection. Long after the fever is gone, many children continue to suffer from coughing. There are a number of available remedies for coughing such as cough expectorants, honey, cough suppressants, steam and using a humidifier or vaporizer. A doctor should be consulted before using an over-the-counter medication if the child has fever, wheezing, shortness of breath or coughing that lasted for more than 2 weeks.
In studies conducted, honey is considered highly effective in minimizing the harshness and occurrence of nighttime coughing in children if compared to the standard cough syrup suppressant or no treatment at all. Honey is recommended as an effective and all-natural alternative treatment. In most cases, a half-teaspoon can be given to children 2-5 years old while 1 teaspoon can be given to children 6-11 years old. As for children 12 years and older, 2 teaspoons can be given.
Cough suppressant syrup
Cough suppressant syrup can be given when the coughing of the child interferes with daily activities or sleep. On the other hand, if the coughing is productive, it simply means that the child is bringing up mucus with the cough. This is why is it not always advisable to suppress the cough since it is how the body naturally clears up bacteria and viruses as well as expel mucus. The commonly used cough suppressants are syrups that contain dextromethorphan which is readily accessible over-the-counter or even prescription syrups that contain codeine.
Cough expectorants contain guaifenesin which works by thinning and loosening the mucus, thus making the cough more productive. A cough expectorant is beneficial for children who produce mucus with the cough. This medication is available as a long-lasting tablet, capsule or liquid syrup. If in doubt, it is best to consult a doctor so that the right medication can be given.
A child with a barking or croup-like cough can be remedied with hot steam to help the child breathe more easily. Bring the child to the bathroom and turn on the hot water in the shower with the bathroom closed. The child can sit with him/her in the bathroom for about 20 minutes. On the other hand, if the child is experiencing breathing difficulty, turns blue or has stridor (high-pitched noise during inhalation), it is best to seek medical care immediately.
Humidifier or steam vaporizer
A cool mist humidifier should be placed in the bedroom at night to help the child sleep by soothing the irritated and dry throat as well as loosening up the mucus. A humidifier is highly effective when the air is dry especially during winter. Take note that dry air will irritate a cough. Using a steam vaporizer will also provide the similar effect.