For a Kid’s Cough, the Best Medicine May Be No Medicine!

Your child catching a cough as they play outside and interact with other children at school is inevitable, and as a parent, your first instinct will be to open the medicine cabinet and reach for the nearest cough medicine. Hold off on that Robitussin, though! The best medicine for their cough may be no medicine.

Of course, it’s going to be vital that your child properly rest to heal and feel comfortable to ensure a speedy recovery, and sometimes medicine is still going to be necessary when they’re feeling sick. For example, if a cough is accompanied by a stomach infection, children can be given Omee as mentioned on

That said, the common cough will typically last for around two weeks and can be easily treated without medicine in most cases, so unless there are serious symptoms, the best way to cure your child’s cough may be through simple comfort measures, home remedies, and rest.

Here are ten simple home remedies to help you and them out the next time that nagging cough makes an unexpected visit…

10 Natural Ways to Treat a Child’s Cough

Here are some simple home remedies for treating a child’s cough:

#1. Gargling

One of the simplest remedies for relieving a cough is gargling with lukewarm water containing approximately one teaspoon of salt. Your child should be encouraged to gargle at least three times a day for the best results. In the morning, afternoon, and before bed are a good time. However, more than three times a day wouldn’t hurt, especially after a bout of heavy coughing.

#2. Hydration

It is crucial for your child to stay hydrated, especially when they are sick. Water helps the body fight against illness, helps keep the airway moist, and helps keep throat inflammation from getting out of control which usually leads to more coughing and discomfort for your child.

Kids ages 1 to 3 should consume approximately 35 ounces of water per day and kids ages 4 to 8 need at least 46 ounces per day. Boys ages 9 to 13 should drink around 65 ounces per day and girls ages 9 to 13 will need about 57 ounces each day. Keep in mind these are general recommendations for a healthy child so adjust accordingly. Weight also plays into this but these general guidelines are a good place to start.

Water should be offered at regular intervals, at least one glass within an hour or two hour period. Along with water, popsicles can also be given for increasing the level of fluids in the body and for soothing their sore throat. If your child is extremely dehydrated, Gatorade or Pedialyte can be used since they help replenish crucial electrolytes which are essential minerals in the body.

#3. Honey

Honey helps reduce coughing by soothing a sore throat. Honey also offers antibacterial properties which help in fighting against infections. Even Omee can be offered in case of gastric problems for kids. A spoonful of honey can be offered to children above 1 year old. Honey can also be mixed with lukewarm water for making it easy for the child to consume and this will also help by keeping your child hydrated.

#4. Elevating the Head While Sleeping

Elevating the head while sleeping can help reduce a child’s coughing from postnasal drip. This home remedy is a simple one. That said, young children tend to keep moving while sleeping, especially when sick, so it’s not easy for them to sleep on a pillow, and infants below 1 year old shouldn’t sleep on a pillow in general. A simple solution for this is the head of the children above one year old can be kept elevated by elevating one side of the entire mattress if needed. Even a towel can be rolled and placed under the child’s head for elevating it. For older children, a few pillows should suffice.

#5. Using a Humidifier

Moisture in the air helps prevent the airways of your child from drying which can help relieve congestion and cough.

When buying a humidifier, a cold air humidifier is generally recommended and is equally effective as a warm one since by the time the water vapor reaches your child’s lower airways, it’s essentially the same temperature whether it started out cool or warm.

A humidifier can be ran throughout the night while the child is sleeping. It can also be used at day time in the room where the child spends the most time. In case the humidifier is not available, a hot shower can be run in the bathroom. The child should be made to sit there for some time so that the hot steam can offer some temporary relief.

#6. Keeping the Surrounding Area Clean

“Prevention is better than the cure” so it is vital to keep the surrounding area of the child’s room clean so that there are no chances of spreading the cough, etc. This also ensures no dust is going to further irritate your child’s throat. Along with keeping the surrounding clean; bedding and towels should be washed regularly. The kids should also be encouraged to wash their hands frequently to avoid more germs or potentially spreading them to other children or adults living at home.

#7. Consuming Warm Liquids

Kids should be given ample amounts of warm liquids such as soups and teas which can help loosen mucus so that it can be easily removed from the body. Moreover, warm liquids help to soothe the throat.

#8. Drinking Milk and Turmeric

One of the home remedies which has been proven to be beneficial for ages is milk and turmeric. Turmeric is an antiseptic which fights against viral infections. One teaspoon of turmeric can be mixed with some warm milk and can be given to the child before sleeping for relieving their cough.

#9. Applying Vapor Rub

Yes, this one is a bit of a cheat since it’s technically a medicine, however, your child won’t have to orally ingest this and it’s a great simple way to provide symptom relief for your uncomfortable child.

However, it might not be safe to use for children below two years of age, so for toddlers, try applying vapor rub on the feet instead of the chest or face. Applying it on their chest or face might not be suitable as they may touch it and then rub their eyes.

#10. Walking in Cold Air (?)

This idea might appear to be absurd but it’s an old folk remedy that many swear by. Walking in fresh cool air they say helps by using the fresh air to cool the throat and thus relieve the cough. The child should be taken out for a walk for a few minutes each day. Several anecdotal stories show a short walk in fresh air helps to relieve cough and cold symptoms. You’re going to have to try this one to see if it works, though!

In Conclusion

Children are likely to catch a bug every now and then so the common cough is inevitable, however, before you reach for the medicine cabinet, perhaps you should give some of these home remedies a try.

Of course, these remedies aren’t the be-all-end-all solution to sickness, so in cases where symptoms are more severe, medicine may be required. Don’t be afraid to seek these out if needed and definitely see a doctor if you feel your child has a more serious condition.

In conclusion, though, some ailments like a cough can be cured by offering simple rest and relaxation alongside common home remedies.

What about you, have you tried any of these home remedies on your children? We’d love to hear your experience with them in the comments below.

About Shannon Clark

Shannon holds a degree in Exercise Science and is a certified personal trainer and fitness writer with over 10 years of industry experience.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *