In this Article
It is not uncommon for children to be infected with cold accompanied by a cough and sneezing. Coughing is usually triggered due to irritation in the lining of the windpipe, and it happens when the child’s body is fighting off an illness. Coughing is the body’s defence mechanism to push out the excess mucus blocking the breathing passage.
Though it is a common occurrence, continuous coughing can be irritating and cause discomfort in the throat, especially for children. Coughing can lead to sleepless nights for children and helplessness for the parents. While there are a lot of medicines available for curing cough, it is best to try out some home remedies when it comes to controlling and curbing cough in children.
A cough is usually of different types, and it is important to identify the type before taking remedial action. Hence, before discussing natural cough remedies for kids, it is essential to understand the different types of coughs based on their characteristics.
Types of Cough
A cough can be classified into five distinct types which are as follows:
1. Wet Cough
Also known as productive cough, a wet cough is one where mucus or phlegm is present in the respiratory tract which might create a rattling sound. A wet cough may happen due to multiple reasons such as pneumonia, bronchitis, cold, fever or flu.
2. Dry Cough
This type of cough is usually because of the common flu or cold. It can also occur due to infections in the lower respiratory tract such as bronchitis or asthma.and irritants such as dust or smoke. In dry cough, there is no phlegm.
3. Wheezing Cough
Caused when airways are narrowed and forced to secrete mucus due to inflammation which clogs the small airways, a wheezing cough is typically characterised by a shrill whistling sound when breathing.
4. Croup Cough
Also known as barky cough, croup cough is caused by a viral infection which blocks the upper respiratory tract, resulting in a barking sound .
5. Whooping Cough
It’s caused by a contagious bacterial infection and is also known as pertussis. The characteristics of whooping cough are similar to that of dry cough. However, this cough can last longer and result in a whooping sound.
Effective Home Remedies for Cough in Kids
It is essential to identify the type of cough your child has so that it can be cured in a fast and efficient manner. There are various cough remedies for kids available that can be administered at home itself Listed below are a few natural remedies for a coughing child :
1. Get Her to Gargle
Perhaps the most common and simple method to provide relief from cough is gargling with warm water. It is best to gargle at least three times a day. Adding a teaspoon of salt to warm water will provide relief from sore throat.
2. Give Honey
Honey is known to have anti-microbial agents that can help the body fight cold. The sweet taste of honey enhances saliva production, which in turn helps in thinning the mucus. The ideal way to administer honey is to mix one tablespoon of it in hot water and squeeze fresh lemon juice into it..
However, giving honey to infants below the age of one can cause botulism and hence should be avoided.
3. Give Ginger
Ginger is an excellent home remedy for fighting cold as it is known to have anti-viral properties. There are many lozenges available which are ginger-based, but it is best to administer ginger directly. Mix honey to counter the strong taste of ginger before giving it to your child.
Give two tablespoons of the following mixture to get relief from cough:
- Mix ¼ teaspoon of crushed or grated ginger with the same quantity of cayenne pepper.
- Mix atablespoon of apple cider vinegar and honey to this and add two tablespoons of water to make a syrup.
4. Apple Cider Vinegar
Kno wn for its antibacterial properties which can kill pathogens in the body, apple cider vinegar is an effective home remedy for dry cough in children. Apple cider vinegar can be mixed with crushed ginger to cure cough. Also, you can make your child take in the smell of vinegar as it is known to soothe sore throat.
5. Make Her Suck on a Lemon
Lemon helps to improve the immune system as it has therapeutic properties to fight off sickness. It is usually a constituent in many lozenges and medicines that help to cure sore throat and cough.
As mentioned above, honey with lemon juice makes an ideal cough syrup. You can also ask your child to suck on a lemon slice for relief.
6. Make Her Inhale Steam
Steam therapy is a good option, especially if your child has a blocked nose and breathing passage, accompanied by wet cough. The warmth of steam will help to loosen the mucus and enable it to flow out easily. You can administer steam in either of the following ways:
- Boil water in a bowl or a tub and add a few drops of eucalyptus oil to it. Allow your child to inhale the steam.
- Let hot water run in the shower with closed doors. This will fill the room with steam which can be inhaled by the child.
7. Ensure Ample Rest
It is important to let your child rest when she is suffering from cough as it helps to heal the body faster. The stress of travelling and sitting in school can slow down the healing process. Besides, coughing can also spread germs to other children. Proper rest will help your kid recover faster from the infection.
8. Make Use of a Humidifier
When the weather is dry, it can create mucus in the throat, leading to irritation and dry cough. A humidifier helps to expel the mucus and provides relief from wet cough. Ensure that you let the humidity out of your window in the morning to prevent the formation of mould.
9. Prepare Chicken Soup
Chicken soup is said to have anti-inflammatory properties which help to soothe cold and provide relief from sore throat, cough and congestion.
10. Prepare Turmeric Milk
An age-old home remedy for instant relief fromsore throat and cough, turmeric mixed in milk is good for whooping cough. Turmeric has antiseptic properties which are effective in treating viral infections.
Just add a teaspoon of turmeric to warm milk and give it to your child every night before bed until the coughing subsides.
11. Administer Cough Drops
Cough drops give temporary relief to sore andscratchy throat. However, cough drops should not be administered to children under the age of 3.
12. Use a Suction Bulb
One of the best baby cough remedies is the use of a suction bulb to clear out the mucus blocking the nasal region. All you need to do is to squeeze the bulb, put it into your baby’s nostril and then release it gently. It will clear the airways by removing the clogged mucus. You can repeat this exercise every few hours, and this works wonders for 6-month old babies.
13. Administer Warm Saline Water or Saline Drops
Saline water drops is also one of the oldest, tried-and-tested home remedies for easing dry cough in children. Salt water is known to relax sore throat and reduce nasal congestion. For best results, follow the below-mentioned steps:
- Add ½ teaspoon of salt to warm water and put two drops of the solution in your child’s nostrils. Ask your child to blow her nose immediately to remove the mucus.
- Older kids can also rinse their nostrils with saline water. Tilt the head to one side and pour warm saline water into one nostril using a Neti pot and allow it to come out from the other. While this process is being done, ensure that the child breathes through the mouth.
14. Use a Vapour Rub
Vapour rubs have herbal oils that can give temporary relief from cough and cold and clear out mucus from the nostrils. Vapour rubs also provide warmth to help your child get a good night’s sleep.
15. Make Her Suck on a Popsicle
While this might sound strange, sucking on a popsicle is a good way to relieve your child’s scratchy throat in case of dry cough. Give your child a sugar-free candy, popsicle or crushed ice to suck on if she is above the age of 4.
16. Keep Your Child Hydrated
Giving fluids to your child will ensure that the toxins are flushed out quickly at regular intervals. Fluids also thin the secretions of the body and clear clear the mucus from the body via the nose or mouth.
17. Give a Tui Na Massage
Massaging, in general, helps the body heal faster. A special massage that has been designed to ease cough, Tui na massage is beneficial for kids as it helps them get relief fromcough, irrespective of its type or severity.
18. Keep the Head in an Upright Position
Keeping your child’s head in an upright position will assist breathing which is otherwise difficult when the nostrils are blocked with mucus. If your child is above the age of 1, you can put a pillow or two and under the head so that the head is higher than rest of the body. This will reduce accumulation of mucus in the throat and prevent coughing fits, especially during the night.
19. Make Her Blow Her Nose
Another simple way to clear mucus from the nostrils is to blow it out. Blowing the nose from time to time will ensure that the accumulated mucus in the nostrils is removed. However, blowing the nose too frequently or too forcefully could lead to tissue damage in the nostrils. Hence, you should make your child do it carefully and at timely intervals. It is also important to ensure that your child’s hands are washed or sanitised at all times.
20. Focus on Hygiene
Coughing spreads germs around very swiftly, hence it is very important to keep your surroundings clean. Clean surroundings will reduce the chances of the flu virus spreading. The best way to keep your surrounding tidy and hygienic is to wash and change bed laundry, handkerchiefs, towels, etc. frequently. Washing hands multiple times or using a hand sanitiser can also keep germs at bay.
21. Give Warm Soups and Liquids
Getting your child to sip on a warm liquid will help to loosen the mucus and remove it from the body. Warm liquids also give comfort to children in case of cold.
22. Use a Home-made Chest Rub
You can make a chest rub at home t rather than using a store-bought one. Followi the below-mentioned steps:
- Pour two tablespoons of beeswax in a boiler and add ½ cup of olive oil or coconut oil to it.
- Add four to five drops of peppermint oil, eucalyptus oil, rosemary oil and clove oil once the beeswax melts and stir.
- After mixing and stirring the solution, allow it to cool down and then apply it to your child’s throat, chest and back to provide relief from cough.
23. Give Herbal Cough Syrup
You can make herbal cough syrup at home by heating chamomile and marshmallow syrup with ginger in about 500ml of water.
24. Fenugreek and Lemon Syrup
An effective cough syrup can be made by soaking a teaspoon of fenugreek leaves and one spoon of thyme leaves in 1 ½ cups of water.
25. Horehound Leaves and Honey Syrup
White horehound leaves have the properties to facilitate expulsion of phlegm from the body, and you can make a syrup from them and give it to your child for relief from a cough:
- Add dried horehound leaves to a pint of boiling water.
- Let the leaves be in the water for 10 minutes.
- Strain the liquid and add honey to make a syrup.
- Store it in the refrigerator and use within two months.
26. Herbal Tea
Decaffeinated herbal tea will provide relief from cough and also give warmth to the child. It is ideal to make herbal tea at home to ensure it does not contain caffeine. An easy way to make herbal tea at home is to take ateaspoon of lemon balm tea and boil it in a cup of water for at least 8 to 10 minutes and give half a cup of this tea to your kid daily. Many other types of herbal tea can be made from various natural ingredients.
27. Give Aniseed Syrup
This herb helps to loosen mucus, making it easy for your kid to cough it out and clear the respiratory tract. You can make aniseed syrup by adding one tablespoon of aniseed to ½ cup boiling water and allow it to simmer for 15 minutes. You can then add two cups of honey to it and administer half a teaspoon to your child regularly to help ease cough.
28. Aloe Vera
Amongst many other advantages, aloe vera also helps soothe a cough. Give a teaspoon of aloe vera juice combined with honey and clove powder twice a day to your child for best results.
29. Carom Seeds
These seeds are known to have anti-bacterial properties which help to fight cough and assist the body in relieving congestion. Boi them in water together with basil leaves, ginger powder, clove, turmeric powder, ground pepper powder. Let the mixture cool down and give it to your child.
30. Usage of Abrus Precatorius
This is also known as crab’s eye. Scrubbing 10 grams of crab’s eye root in 10ml of water and giving it three times a day to your child can help fight a cough and cold.
31. Make Use of Red Onion Juice
One teaspoon of Allium cepa or red onion juice mixed with honey is good for treating sinuses, cold, allergies and coughing fit.
32. Herbal Powder
Powder made from a mixture of natural ingredients such as java grass, Chinese pistachio leaves, pepper fruit, Indian aconite bud and basil mixed with honey can help fight a cough.
33. Herbal Decoction
Herbal decoction given in small doses can be very useful in treating cough. Here is how you can prepare a herbal decoction:
- Mix one spoon of cumin seeds, sweet flag and cilantro to one cup of boiling water.
- Simmer the liquid for 20 minutes and then strain it.
- Allow it to cool and give one teaspoon of the decoction post meals to help ease a cough.
34. Almonds with Orange Juice
Almonds are known to help ease out bronchial problems which include a cough. Blend a few teaspoons of ground almond with orange juice and give it to your child for relief from a cough.
35. Other Simple Techniques
- A slice of lemon with salt and pepper sprinkled on it when sucked can give relief from a cough.
- A mixture of honey with white pepper can also tone down the effect of a cough for your child.
36. Expose Her to Cool Air
Popular belief has it that if your child has been suffering from cough, exposing her to cold air can work wonders. If its winter, you can bundle her up and take her out for a walk. Thus, your child will get a breath of fresh air and also some exercise. If doing this isn’t possible, open the refrigerator door and make your child stand in front of it and inhale the cold air. This can especially helpful during a coughing fit.
Diet for Avoiding Cough in Children
Prevention is undoubtedly better than cure when your child’s health is in question. While there are many home remedies to cure cough, it is always better to try and prevent it from occurring. Maintaining cleanliness is the easiest way to avoid infections, but including the following items in your child’s diet can also help:
- A diet that includes a good source of Vitamin A and B builds immunity against flu and cough.
- Green leafy vegetables such as spinach will strengthen your child’s immune system. You can also make a soup of available leafy vegetables and give it to your child.
- Root vegetables such as garlic and ginger also improve the immune system.
- Hot milk with honey will shield your little one from bacteria and viruses.
- Avoid frequent consumption of junk food or food that is spicy, oily and unhealthy.
- If your kid is prone to coughing, avoid banana and food with high salt and sugar content as they increase mucus formation in the body.
- Healthy food items such as whole wheat porridge, vegetable khichdi, buttermilk soup (kadhi), broccoli soup, beetroot soup, etc. are good for your kid’s diet.
- Warm pineapple juice mixed with honey is a natural cough syrup and will prevent mucus formation.
The safest and fastest way to treat your child’s cough is by using any of these home remedies and providing a good, healthy diet coupled with clean environment. It is important to ensure that you do not smoke in the vicinity of your kids especially if they are suffering from cough. Keep them away from dusty and polluted areas. Ensure they wash their hands regularly and more importantly before consuming any foods.
While most of these remedies do not have side effects, it is important to understand what suits your child and what does not. If a cough persists, it is advisable to see a doctor to identify and address the cause.