Coughing is not harmful, on the contrary; it serves to keep the airways clear, but it is annoying, especially if it lasts long or is intense. Is your child constantly coughing and you don’t know what to do? Not to worry. In today’s article, we explain how to relieve your child’s coughing. Keep reading to learn more.
What to Do If Your Child Coughs
The first thing to do is to identify the cause and try to fight it. Most of the time, the cough is due to an infection of the respiratory tract that doesn’t require specific pharmacological treatment. However, sometimes it is very annoying and causes vomiting or does not let the child sleep. In this case, if it is dry, the pediatrician can recommend a cough suppressant, but it is better for the specialist to determine the cause of the cough and indicate the appropriate treatment.
There are home remedies that are effective in relieving your child’s uncomfortable cough:
- Have your child drink plenty of water. This will help make the secretions more fluid and make them easier to eliminate.
- Coughs are often worse at night. You can relieve it by lightly incorporating the child with pillows, provided he or she is over one year old.
- Place a chopped onion near the child’s bed. The vapors it gives off also help make the mucus flow more freely.
- If he coughs a lot, offer him a teaspoon of honey. This soothes the throat and relieves the cough. From the age of five, you can give him honey candy.
- Keep the environment moist. You can do this with a humidifier or by placing a bowl of warm water over the radiator.
- Air out the room to keep it dust-free.
- Don’t allow smoking in the child’s presence.
Why Does a Cough Occur?
Coughing is a reflex action that is triggered when a foreign body enters the respiratory system and causes irritation. Its purpose is to clear the airways of any foreign material that may interfere with proper breathing. It is usually due to a cold or a respiratory infection caused by viruses or bacteria, which causes an excess of mucus inside the lungs.
But it is also possible that the cough is a symptom of an asthma attack (it appears especially after doing some type of physical exercise) or an allergic process (accompanied by sneezing, watery eyes and mucus). It can also be caused by the inhalation of irritating particles, such as dust, smoke… or excessive dryness of the environment.
Types of Cough
- Dry or unproductive cough: without mucus, it can occur towards the end of a cold or after breathing in something that irritates the lungs, such as dust or smoke.
- Productive cough: with phlegm, it is produced to expel excess mucus from the lungs. The most common cause is bronchitis, bronchiolitis or bronchiectasis (dilation of the bronchi). It is not recommended to treat a productive cough with cough suppressants, because these drugs only prevent it, preventing the expulsion of mucus where germs grow.
- Wheezing cough: occurs especially when the child has asthma.
- Hoarse cough: this is caused by laryngitis.
See a doctor if…
- The cough occurs in a child under three months of age.
- Sputum is greenish or bloody.
- Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing.
- The cough is accompanied by other symptoms such as fever, abdominal swelling, repeated vomiting…
- Rapid weight loss is observed.
- The cough persists for more than 10 days.
Many foods can improve symptoms and others can make them worse. Take note of what to include in your diet and what precautions to consider.
Foods to Consider
- Give them plenty of fluids, especially water. It is essential for eliminating mucus.
- Broccoli strengthens the immune system, onions help expel mucus both raw and cooked and have soothing and anti-inflammatory properties, leeks have similar virtues, carrots strengthen the defenses, peppers contain many vitamins, including C.
- Fruits will bring vitamins and minerals. Apples, strawberries, kiwi, citrus fruits and cherries are particularly recommended.
- Fish – especially blue fish such as salmon or tuna – is rich in essential fatty acids.
- Eggs improve asthma symptoms.
Foods to Avoid
- Reduce consumption of dairy products that make it difficult to expel mucus.
- Avoid fats, additives and nuts because of their risk of inhalation.
There you go! With our tips, you should easily help relieve your child’s cough. Do you have any other tips? Let us know in the comments below.