8 Natural & Practical Ways to Soothe a Childs Cough
Coughs in children are often very common, and won’t be any cause for concern. When children have a cold, they often cough due to mucus trickling down the back of the throat, and if they are feeding, eating, drinking and breathing normally, and they are not wheezing, it is likely nothing to be worried about and can be treated with some of the natural remedies below.
However; if your child has a particularly bad cough that does not seem to be getting any better, or if your child has a high temperature and is breathless, take them to the GP, as they might have a chest infection, which often requires antibiotics to treat it.
Coughing that continues for a long time, or is worse a night, or is brought on by your child running about should also be checked out, as these are all symptoms of asthma.
Coughing can sound upsetting, particularly in younger children; however, do remember that it is helping to clear away the phlegm from the chest, or the mucus from the back of the throat.
There are certain things that you can try at home though, that can help to soothe their cough, and give them some relief.
Soothe with honey
Please note that this remedy should not be given to children under the age of one. Ingesting honey before they reach the age of one can be very harmful and they can become very unwell.
Honey has a huge number of health benefits and is a fantastic natural cough suppressant for toddlers and children. Give your child a spoonful of honey before they go to bed in order to help them soothe a sore throat, ease coughs, and allow them to sleep better.
Make sure they are getting enough fluids
Fluids are vital when your child has a cough. Warm fluids especially will help to keep your child hydrated, as well as help to thin out the mucus, which then makes it easier for your child to cough up.
A warm broth or apple cider vinegar are fantastic choices if they also have a sore throat, as it will help to soothe this and increase the flow of mucus.
Mix lemon and a couple of spoons of honey to some warm water, and let them sip on this. For infants, who are under six months, ensure that they are having enough formula or breast milk to keep them properly hydrated.
Try steam inhalation
If you have access to one, running a humidifier in your child’s room overnight can help to moisten the nasal passages, as well as shrink them, which will allow your toddler or child to breathe much easier when they are suffering from a cough.
Please note though that it should be a cool-mist humidifier in order for this to have maximum effects. If you do not have access to a humidifier, you can create one by running a warm bath for your child or running the shower at a hot temperature to create steam, and then sit in the bathroom with your child.
Give them a soothing treat
This one is aimed at older children, but giving them a boiled sweet, or a non-medicated cough drop can provide immediate, short-term relief from coughs.
Of course, there is a choking hazard in this remedy, so use your judgement, and do not give them to younger children.
For younger children though, you can give them an ice lolly to suck on. This is great for sore throats, it will provide hydration, as well as soothing the cough at the same time.
Clear their nose of mucus
Whilst this is never a pleasant task, mucus will irritate and constrict the throat, which will cause them to cough more. Saline drops or sprays can be used to help loosen the mucus, before using an aspirator to remove the mucus. Of course, if your child is old enough to know how to blow their nose, you can skip the last step.
Saline drops can be purchased from most pharmacies and are gentle enough to use on newborn babies, as well to give them some relief.
Gargle with salt water
This is not a favoured one among children, but it is very effective. Again, salt water is not suitable for children who are not old enough to know not to swallow the solution. But, if your child is over four years of age, it is a great natural cough suppressant.
Simply add half a teaspoon of salt into a glass of warm water, and stir until it is dissolved. Gargle with a mouthful of the solution for as long as they can, but ideally a minimum of a minute. This can be repeated as often as needed; or as often as your child can tolerate.
Use a chest rub
Over the counter chest rubs, are very effective at reducing and relieving coughs; however, it should be noted that these should not be used on the face at all.
You can also make your own natural chest rub at home, by mixing some essential oils, beeswax pastilles, and carrier oils. But, do remember that eucalyptus and peppermint oils are not recommended for use in younger children.
Raise the angle that they are sleeping at
Lying flat will make a cough worse, as the mucus cannot drain down, which is often why your child coughs more at night. So try lifting their head at night to give them some relief.
For babies, put some pillows or rolled up towels underneath the head of the mattress. Do not put them in the cot with the babies though, as it can cause a suffocation risk. Toddlers can have an extra pillow to raise their head should help to ease their cough.