If your child seems to be coughing constantly, it can be concerning. Typically, a child's cough is nothing to worry about. Many times, it can be caused by a common cold or even by allergies.
Because over-the-counter cough and cold medicines are not recommended for children under the age of 6 years, it can be challenging to know how to help your child feel comfortable – especially if a cough is keeping them up at night. See seven ways you can treat your child's cough at home.
Home remedies to help soothe a child's cough
- Drink warm fluids: Encourage your child to drink plenty of fluids. Warm liquids such as caffeine-free tea, broth or hot water with lemon can help loosen up mucus and soothe a sore throat.
- Consider using a humidifier: Dry air can make a child's cough worse. Consider placing a cool-mist humidifier in your child's room, near where they sleep, to help ease their breathing.
- Breathe in warm water vapors: Let your child breathe in water vapors from a warm bath or shower. This can help loosen mucus and, as a bonus, calm your child before bed.
- Try icy treats: Give your child cold items like popsicles or ice cream to make a hurting throat feel better.
- Saline and suction: A saline solution, such as a nose spray or mist, can help loosen mucus in the nose. Have your child blow their nose frequently, or if they are young, use a suction bulb to prevent drainage.
- Give a spoonful of honey (over age 1): A teaspoon of honey can help combat coughing but should only be given to children over age 1.
- Get some zzz's: Encourage your to child get plenty of rest and sleep to promote healing. While coughing may seem aggravated at night, the above tips may help your child find relief.
Remember, it can take a couple of weeks for a child to recover from a cold. However, if your child's cough continues to linger, is accompanied by symptoms such as a high fever or difficulty breathing, or you are concerned that it may be a sign of a more serious illness (see other common causes of coughs in children), contact your child's pediatrician as soon as possible.
Get care now
We know that getting sick is never convenient. But now you can videoconference with a health care provider 24 hours a day, 7 days a week with Virtual Visit by Children's Health Virtual Care. Get treated right from your smartphone, tablet or computer for allergies, common colds and flu, cuts and more. Download the Virtual Visit app today.
Children’s Health Family Newsletter
Get health tips and parenting advice from Children’s Health experts sent straight to your inbox twice a month. Sign up now.