Medicinal and Home Cough Remedies for Kids

When You Have To Give Your Child Something For Cough

The common cold is one of the most contagious illnesses, especially for children. Colds can certainly make your child's asthma worse. One would think the immune system would build up an immunity for the cold by now, and it does. The problem is, however, that there is more than one cold. In fact, there are over 200 types of colds that mimic virtually all the same symptoms, so while you think you have gotten rid of one, a different type might be gearing up to take its position in your child's body. While we worry that ​a cough can be a sign of poorly controlled asthma, sometimes it is just a side effect of whatever virus is infiltrating your community. This article focuses on a cough that is not your asthma and how you can address the annoying symptoms.

Young boy at school coughing into his arm
Steve Debenport / Getty Images

Kids have it worse than adults. They go to school or daycare, which seems to be a cesspool of germs, and they bring everything home. Their immune systems are not yet strong enough to fight off things like that common cold, and while everyone can get it, kids are much more prone. Kids also have a tendency of not thinking about how germs can get transferred from Nancy’s crayon to Timmy’s mouth. And what can we say? They are kids, after all. Our job is to know what to do when they bring that inevitable cold home.

What are some of the remedies that will work for your kids? There are so many cough remedies for kids out there, including over the counter and drugstore types, but what will actually work? According to the National Institutes of Health, kids suffer from about six to ten common colds per year. Unfortunately, there are not medications that will make a child’s cold disappear. When it comes to the common cold, it is the time that heals.

The common cold will last from about seven to ten days and most medications that claim to treat the cold usually only treat its symptoms. Most remedies will only suppress the symptoms temporarily, but temporary relief can allow just enough time to get the rest required to get better. Cough suppressants and decongestants all provide temporary relief that makes it easy to breathe and reduce coughing.

Cough Suppressants

Cough suppressants are designed to do just that; suppress a cough. For kids who suffer from the common cold, coughing can be an annoying symptom. Not only can it be disruptive, but it also can cause more problems. Coughing occurs when mucus builds up and causes a post-nasal drip down the back of the throat. Naturally, the body produces mucus to help trap bacteria from getting into the body’s system. When a child has a cold, his or her mucus can become thicker and make its way through the nose or the back of the throat.

The post-nasal drip will tickle the back of the throat and the natural urge is to cough, but excessive coughing can cause the throat to become sore, or it can even make the throat bleed. Some cough suppressants work by blocking the cough reflex. For a cough accompanied by phlegm, the best thing to do is get rid of the phlegm. Guaifenesin is a remedy that helps thin the mucus so it comes out much easier. Using this method will help get rid of a cough.

There are natural cough remedies such as menthol and camphor. These treatments usually come in three forms. The liquid form is used with a vaporizer that will help the child to breathe easier. However, with asthma, this may not be a good idea. They can also come in the form of an ointment, such as Vicks, which can be rubbed on the chest or even on the feet with socks. If there is an odor free variety that would be best for asthma patients. There is also the lozenge form, which the child can suck on. This method may be the easiest for children as there are flavors that taste like candy and what child doesn’t love that?


The common cold causes the lining of your nose to swell by the blood vessels and tissues becoming larger. This swelling of the nose makes it hard to breathe and the nose becomes congested. Congestion makes it difficult for the child to get the rest he or she needs in order to truly heal. Decongestants work to shrink the swelling of tissues and blood vessels, making it easy for the child to breathe.

Decongestants come in many forms such as nose drops, nasal sprays, liquids, and tablet. While children may be fearful of swallowing a tablet, liquids are an easy way of getting the medicine to the body.

Home Remedies

There are countless home remedies for the common cold, and chicken soup is one of them. Although the chicken soup itself does not prove to actually cause any physical changes in the body, it tends to have a placebo effect on children which can make them feel better.

Vitamin C tends to have healing powers when it comes to the common cold or a cough. Vitamin C can come in the form of vitamin tablets, chewable vitamins, or gummy vitamins for children. It is also in citrus fruits such as oranges and grapefruits, or even in orange juice. When your child has a cough, give them some orange juice and chewable vitamins. They will love the taste, and it can help them feel better sooner. The citrus of lemon mixed with honey is also said to help with sore throats when your child has a cough.

The best way to get rid of a cough soon is through much rest. Only during rest can the body do what it needs to in order to rid itself of germs. The body has everything it needs to feel better, but children need to sleep for it to do its work. Use these remedies to promote a more comfortable rest for your child and allow their body to heal itself.

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