Coughing is a common problem among children, and it is especially troublesome if it disturbs a child’s sleep. Coughing is actually the result of low immunity in kids, especially in babies and toddlers. Therefore mothers are always on the lookout for remedies to cure a cough without having to run to the doctor. So here is a list of few tried and tested effective home remedies for cough in kids.
Common Causes of Cough in Children
- Infection – Viral infections like cold and flu can lead to cough in children.
- Acid Reflux – One of the symptoms of acid reflux is coughing. Look for other symptoms to confirm if it is acid reflux.
- Asthma – Asthma can be tough to diagnose because symptoms vary from child to child. But a wheezing cough, which may get worse at night, is one of many asthma symptoms. The other symptom may be a cough that appears with increased physical activity or during play.
- Allergies or Sinusitis – Certain allergies of sinus can cause a lingering cough.
- Whooping Cough – It is characterised by recurrent cough, followed by an inhale that has a “whooping” sound.
Night Time Cough Remedies for Children
Cold weather can essentially be one of the major reasons for a cough and cold among children. It could be due to food allergy, dust allergy, or some underlying health conditions like bronchitis, infection in the throat or lungs. If children cough all night long, it can disrupt their sleep. As a result, it can drain them out and make them feel tired during the daytime. If your toddler is coughing at night, the following remedies given below will be of great help.
1. Eucalyptus Oil
If your child is less than 2 years of age, pour a few drops of eucalyptus oil on the pillow and the bedrolls of your child. It will open her nostrils and provide instant relief. You can also pour a few drops of eucalyptus oil on your child’s clothing. Always remember that if your child is too young, don’t massage the oil on her throat.
2. Warm Soup
Give your child a warm vegetable soup or chicken soup, and it will provide relief from a cough or a sore throat.
3. Throat Lozenges
It is seen that Zinc Lozenges taken once in every 2-3 hours can cure a cough and cold. The lozenges also provide relief from the irritation caused by the inflammation of the throat, thereby curing the cough which results from an infection.
In India, children are also given rock candy (mishri) to suck in order to cure the throat irritation, which causes a cough. It is said that anything that stimulates saliva like lozenges or rock candy and keeps the throat moist provides relief to a sore throat or throat irritation.
4. Turmeric Milk
Turmeric has anti-bacterial properties. In a glass of warm milk, mix ½ a teaspoon of turmeric and ask your child to drink it. Small children may not be able to drink a whole glass of turmeric milk, so start by giving them just a few spoons of the mixture initially.
5. Turmeric and Honey Mixture
Turmeric has anti-bacterial properties, and honey soothes the throat, thereby giving relief from a cough, especially dry cough in toddlers at night. Home remedies like these are easily accessible to everyone as they are made of kitchen essentials.
6. Inhaling Smoke of Burnt Turmeric Root
Burning turmeric root and inhaling the smoke (also known as Dhoom Paan in Ayurveda), is a good and effective remedy to cure a cough. You can do so by putting a few turmeric leaves in burning charcoal. Then put some turmeric on top of the leaves and let it burn. Inhale the smoke that emits out of it.
7. Ginger and Honey
The antihistamine property of ginger helps in treating allergy, which is one of the most common causes of a cough. It helps in curing persistent cough too. The juice of crushed ginger, when mixed with honey, soothes an inflamed throat and cures cough.
8. Elevated Head
In some cases, children cough during the night because the mucus dribbles down from the back of the nose into the throat, causing persistent coughing throughout the night. Therefore, propping her head up with few pillows will reduce the trickling down of the mucus, causing less coughing at night.
Heat mustard oil and add some roughly crushed garlic into it. Let it cool. Massage it all over your child’s body, especially on the throat, chest, back, palms of the hands, and below the feet. Mustard oil keeps the body warm, and the garlic having antimicrobial properties can ward off infections. However, do not put too much pressure while massaging your baby’s chest and back. It should be done gently.
10. Tulsi and Honey
Tulsi increases immunity and prevents all types of infections. The tulsi leaves have expectorant properties which thin the mucus and cures chest congestion. It also acts on the nerves that cause coughing. Honey, on the other hand, has an antibacterial and antiviral property which soothes the throat by preventing infection. Thus, when the juice of tulsi leaves mixed with honey is given to a child, it relieves the child from coughing.
Apart from these, you can also try several other options to relieve your child’s cough, like gargling. In a glass of warm water, dissolve some salt. Make your child gargle with that. Gargling with warm salt water thrice a day can reduce the throat inflammation, thereby relieving a sore throat. Even gargling with warm water mixed with salt and turmeric can cure throat infection because turmeric and salt are said to have anti-bacterial properties.
Another great way of preventing coughs during winter is to place a humidifier in your child’s room. It will add moisture to the dry winter air inside the room and prevent coughing. Remember to clean the humidifier often so that it does not get mouldy inside.
Coughing is not a serious problem. However, it should never be left untreated. Trying out home remedies to cure a cough is common in every Indian household. However, if a cough persists even after trying out all the home remedies, it is advisable to consult a doctor.