You can't treat coughs in babies in the same way as you treat it in adults. The chemical based cough syrups and other OTC medicines are not good for babies or toddlers. American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) warns that over the counter medicines for cough and cold can be dangerous for children under the age of 6.
It is better to treat the cough, cold and flu of your baby with home remedies. These remedies will reduce the symptoms and give relief to your baby. She will feel better but the illness period may not get shortened as it has to run iis course of about 10-14 days anyway.
Table of Contents
- What Causes Cough in Babies?
- Why Shouldn't You Use Harsh Chemicals for Baby Cough?
- 5 Effective Home Remedies for Cough in Babies
- When to Call a Doctor for Your Baby’s Cough?
- Other Tips and Precautions
A cough is the body's reflex action to promote clearing of the upper Airways. Infractions, environmental pollution in some underlying health conditions can cause cough.
Cough in babies can be for many reasons the following two most common causes of cough.
- Cold - A dry cough is generally an indication of cold or viral infection
- Bacterial Infection - This is a wet cough where the child will produce phlegm or mucus
- Allergies - Allergies can cause, runny nose, watery eyes, sore throat or rashes in addition to the cough
- Acid Reflux - Acid reflux in babies can cause cough with bad taste in the mouth
- Wheezing cough - Wheezing cough may be because of asthma
- Whooping cough - This kind of cough causes sneezing, runny nose and low fever
- Other causes - Inhaling foreign bodies such as cigarette smoke, fireplace smoke, chemical fumes and other irritants
Cough is an alarming signal if your child under the four months age gets it. Always concerned your pediatrician before taking on any home remedies at this stage. cough in babies above the age of 1 year is not as much cause of concern.
The cough may produce one or more if the following symptoms
- Stuffy or runny nose
- Slight fever at night
- Barking sounds
- Waking up in the middle of night
- Breathing difficulty
Conditions such as pneumonia, bronchitis and asthma require medical attention
Most of the time the cough and cold in babies is caused by viral infections and allergies which can be treated by home remedies.
Viral infection in babies or adults runs its course of 10 to 14 days in any case whatever you do. Even if you take prescribed medicines that suppress the symptoms and give you relief but the illness continues until it has run its course.
If it is going to give only symptomatic relief then why use hash chemical based medicines?
There is really no need to use any such medicine for viral cough and cold. However, if it is caused by bacterial infection then it is a different story. You need doctor's intervention.
Following home remedies give enough relief during an episode of viral or allergic cough in babies.
Healing of any ailment is faster when sufficient rest is taken. Fighting infection saps energy, so if you baby takes more rest she will recover fast from infections if any that is causing cough.
Rest doesn't mean being in the best all the time. Activities that do not give physical or mental strain also constitute rest.
- Let you baby or toddler sleep as much as she want
- Keep your baby or child occupied in simple activities like storytelling, drying with crayons it even watching a happy cartoon for sometime.
- Let her relax on rocking chair
Any other short term activity that your child enjoys is ok.
Saline nasal drops are used to thin down the mucus and shrink the swollen airways. Otherwise wise the stuffy nose causes breathing, eating and sleeping troubles.
The thinned down mucus gets easily removed. You can use a suction bulb to remove the mucus.
- Sanitize your hands with soap and water
- Cradle your baby in one arm
- Suck a few drops of saline as recommended by your doctor
- Administer saline drop by a gently squeezing dropper in the nose without touching the mucus
- Keep the baby in same position for 5 minutes for saline drops to thin the mucus
- Let your baby in seating position if she begins to cough
- Clean dropper sand saline bottle top before capping the bottle
Proper hygiene is absolutely a must for this. Make sure that the dropper is cleaned before and after administering saline drops.Also rinse the top of the bottle with warm water.
Another way to thin out mucus is to give your baby more fluids. So, give your child
- fresh juices and
Breastfed children below the age of 6 months should only be given breast milk or formula.
Elder toddlers can be given water and juices.
Chicken soup and hot chocolate can be given to kids who take cooked meals.
Honey soothes sore throats and helps in removal of mucus. This is a good remedy for 1 year and older babies.
- Give ½ teaspoon of honey before bedtime
- Give it daily until cough is cleared.
- Stop it after a couple of days of clear airways
Add a cool mist humidifier in your babies’ room. Use it with proper care to avoid developing molds and bacteria.
Moist air will loosen the mucus to make it easy to remove and give your baby a lot of relief.
- Trouble breathing or talking
- Has high fever
- Fatigued and appear sick
- Trouble swallowing
- Coughing blood
If your baby is really struggling to breathe, choking or has blue lips or fingernails then this is an emergency case. You must call 911. Otherwise normal cough and cold can be easily treated at home.
- Keep your house free of dust mites and other allergens
- Stay away from other kids or adults with cold, cough or flu
- Keep your baby clean and make sure that your hands are sanitized all the time
Bottomline is that coughing in babies is common. No need to panic in most cases. When it is caused by a common cold virus or allergies then you can treat it at home to give you'd child relief.