Coughs, Age 11 and Younger - Home Treatment
Coughing is the body's way of removing
foreign substances and
mucus from the
lungs and upper airway passages . Productive coughs are often useful, and you
should not try to eliminate them. Sometimes, though, coughs are severe enough
to impair breathing or prevent rest. Home treatment can help your child feel
more comfortable when he or she has a cough.
dehydration. Fluids may help soothe an irritated
throat. Honey or lemon juice in hot water or tea may help a dry, hacking cough.
Do not give honey to children younger than 1 year of age. It may contain bacteria that are harmful to babies.
- Cough and cold medicines may not be safe for young children. Before you give them to a child, check the label. If you do give these medicines to a child, always follow the directions about how much to give based on the child's age and weight. These medicines may help with your child's symptoms, but they don't help your child get better faster. For more information, see Quick Tips: Giving Over-the-Counter Medicines to Children.
- If your child's doctor
tells you to give a medicine, be sure to follow what he or she tells you to do.
How much medicine to take and how often to take it may be very different for
children than for adults.
- Do not give your child leftover
antibiotics, or antibiotics or medicines that were prescribed for someone
If your child has a barking cough during the night, you can
help him or her breathe better by following the home treatment for a
- Hold your child in a calming manner.
- Keep your child quiet, if possible. Crying can make breathing more
difficult. Try rocking or distracting your child with a book or game.
- Use a
humidifier to add moisture to the air. Do not use a
hot vaporizer. Use only water in the humidifier. Hold your child in your lap,
and let the cool vapor blow directly into your child's face.
- If there is no improvement after several minutes, take the child
into the bathroom and turn on the shower to create steam. Close the door and
stay in the room while he or she breathes in the moist air for several
minutes. Make sure your child is not burned by the hot water or steam. Do not
leave your child alone in the bathroom.
- If there is still no improvement, bundle your child up and go
outside in the cool night air.
For more information on treating coughs and other respiratory
problems, see the Home Treatment section of the topic
Respiratory Problems, Age 11 and Younger.
Medicine you can buy without a prescription
| Try a nonprescription
medicine to help treat your child's fever or pain:|
Talk to your child's doctor before switching back and
forth between doses of acetaminophen and ibuprofen. When you switch between two
medicines, there is a chance your child will get too much medicine.
| Be sure to follow these
safety tips when you use a nonprescription medicine:|
- Carefully read and follow all directions on the medicine
bottle and box.
- Do not use more than the recommended dose.
- Do not give your child a medicine if he or she has had an
allergic reaction to it in the past.
- Do not give aspirin to anyone younger than age 20 unless your child's doctor tells you to.
- Do not give naproxen (Aleve) to children younger than age 12 unless your doctor tells you