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Remedies for Cough in Children

Updated on December 13, 2007

During cough and cold season, it seems just as soon as you get one child well another comes down coughing. Although there is no real cure for common colds, rest is the best medicine. Getting kids comfortable enough to settle down can be a challenge. Here are the most popular home remedies for relieving symptoms of coughs and colds.

Hot Drinks and Soups

Liquids are crucial to recovery and some provide extra benefits. In general liquid flushes out toxins from the body and helps bring down fever. For cough and congestion drink a tea made of a tablespoon of honey, the juice of half a lemon, and warm water. Some people make this same concoction with apple cider vinegar instead of lemon juice.

Raw ginger in warm water also helps to clear the sinuses.

Chicken soup is a widely known cold remedy, but garlic soup works just as well. Boil three or four cloves of garlic in a cup of water. Besides its antiseptic and antispasmodic properties, the oil contained in garlic can help open the respiratory passages.

Vitamin C and Lozenges

At the first sign of a cold, large doses of Vitamin C can relieve cold symptoms and shorten its duration. While there is debate over just how much is appropriate to treat a cold, at least 1000 mg a day seems to be the agreed upon amount. Many children's chewable tablets come in a 500 mg dose, so that would be two a day.

Sucking on any kind of lozenges (even candy!) stimulates saliva production and therefore soothe the throat. Medicated varieties may or may not be more effective, but the main benefit is the increased saliva.

Over the Counter Medications

I learned about a new use for Vick's Vapor Rub from a friend. You slather the feet in Vick's Vapor Rub and then cover with socks. I tried it on my daughter recently and it worked.

While not recommended for infants, sometimes over the counter cough medications can help to relieve cold and cough symptoms. If you decide to use and over the counter cough syrup, make sure you get the right kind. For moist coughs you'll want an expectorant. Benadryl is a popular brand that many families have on hand. Another ingredient of Benadryl (or it's store brand equivalent) is diphenhydramine, which can cause drowsiness. For dry, croupy coughs pick up a suppressant. You want to get the right kind of cough syrup because if there is mucous in the airways, you want to get it out - not suppress it.

More Resources

Herbal Remedies

Mayo Clinic


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