Parents, here’s a guide on what you can do and remedies you can try if your baby has a cough and cold.
It’s hard not to care when the baby has a cough because he can’t tell you how he’s feeling. Parents should be observant and listen to every sound of the cough and breathing of their baby, to realise what kind of cough she has. Babies are not like adults who can buy medicine for coughs and colds anytime.
When babies and children experience these common illnesses, the first solution is not medicine. So what should you do when your baby has a cough and cold?
Is Baby Cough Common
Baby cough is a common problem most parents will encounter during their child’s first year.
Determining whether your baby has a cold or the flu can be challenging. Still, if you want to get a diagnosis for your child, it’s essential to know the signs and symptoms of each so you can make an informed decision about what treatment options are available.
Cause of Baby’s Cough and Cold
A baby’s cough can mean a lot. Should parents wait for the cough to disappear? Is it okay for your baby to take any cough syrup? Can parents make an appointment first, or should the baby be sent to the Emergency Room?
According to Robert Giesler, a respiratory therapist at Children’s Hospital Los Angeles, when you’re accustomed to listening to different coughing children, you’ll realise different kinds of coughing, which should be a concern.
It’s natural to feel worried when your child has a stuffy nose or when you hear your baby’s cough, especially at night.
But you must remember that coughing is the body’s first defence to keep the airways open and remove the degenerated phlegm or food.
This is a crucial way to protect the body against respiratory tract diseases. Coughing will also signal to the parent what kind of disease will be predicted.
According to Dr. Carlo Palarca, M.D., an internist, for babies 4 months old and below, having a severe cough is already a cause for alarm.
When it’s cold season, and the baby gets cold and severe coughs, it may be a respiratory syncytial virus (RSV), a dangerous viral infection that gets babies.
Two Types of Cough
But as he grows older and turns one, coughing will no longer be that alarming. Most likely, it will be accompanied by the common cold, Dr Palarca explained. He also said that there are two types of cough –
- Dry cough usually results from colds or allergies. After all, coughing helps prevent colds and relaxes the throat and airways, where phlegm is blocked.
- Wet cough is caused by a respiratory illness with a bacterial infection. This is the type of cough with phlegm or mucus (which includes white blood cells resistant to germs) in the child’s throat.
Why You Should Listen to Your Baby’s Cough
Listening to your baby’s cough can actually help pinpoint the cause and give the appropriate treatment. Here are some usual symptoms you should watch out for and what caused them.
Wheezing cough with phlegm
A stuffy nose and a sore throat are signs of a cold and the flu. A child coughs because of the phlegm in the throat that the system is trying to remove. Sometimes, it also comes with a fever.
Croup: Cough like barking
Croup is one of the most common causes of cough in children 5 years old and younger.
This is a relentless cough that sounds like the child is barking and has difficulty breathing. It is caused by a viral infection, which swells the throat or trachea, and the airway for breathing is almost closed.
This cough also disappears quickly. Sometimes it only lasts up to 4 days. If this kind of cough persists, consult a doctor immediately.
Bronchitis or Asthma: Cough with wheezing or whistling
The cough usually becomes bronchiolitis, along with a cold.
When accompanied by difficulty in breathing and wheezing, it can be caused by an obstruction in the airway or airway, such as dust, for example.
When RSV is present, it can turn into bronchiolitis. This type of cough is dangerous for infants under one year of age. It usually attacks during the cold or rainy season and is accompanied by low-grade fever and loss of appetite.
Asthma is uncommon for children under 2 years of age unless someone has eczema or a family history of allergies or asthma.
When the airway or airway closes, there is wheezing probably caused by asthma. This includes colds, itching, and tearing of the eyes.
Whooping cough: Loud cough
This cough, also called pertussis, does not include a cold or fever but is a severe type of cough.
It is a dangerous bacterial infection that commonly causes infants death before the DTP vaccine was available in the 1960s and eventually eradicated in America. According to the APA, the disease returns, and symptoms must be known to prevent it.
Pneumonia: cough accompanied by other symptoms
It is a viral or bacterial infection that attacks the lungs caused by many possible things, such as a cold.
When a child has pneumonia, you hear the rattle of phlegm. When your child coughs, they become weak and have greenish or yellow mucous in their nose and mouth.
Usually, it is accompanied by fever and difficulty in breathing. Although in some cases, these other symptoms might go unnoticed. This is known as walking pneumonia.
Other causes of baby’s cough
According to Dr Romina Geraloga, a paediatric pulmonologist in the Philippines, it is important to observe the baby’s cough. See what kind of cough it is. Also, check if anyone in the house has a cough.
It can also be from eating. The milk or food can be stuck in the airways if the baby has just been fed and has not been burped. You can also check if the baby is experiencing any issues with her digestive system or might have been exposed to substances that may have triggered her allergies, such as dust or pollen.
What it Means When Baby has Dry Cough No Fever
What does it mean when your baby has a dry cough and no fever?
A dry cough does not produce mucus. It’s not always a sign of an illness, but it can be a symptom of something more serious. If you’re worried about your baby’s cough and think it might be something more than just a cold, there are some things you can watch out for.
If your baby has a dry cough and no fever, call the doctor if:
- The cough lasts longer than two weeks (though this is rare)
- The cough gets worse or doesn’t improve after two days of treatment
- Your baby is acting differently (like sleeping more than usual) because of the cough
What to Do for a Baby With a Cough
If your baby has a cough, it’s important to know what to do and how to manage their discomfort. Many different things can cause a cough; some are more serious than others.
Here’s what you need to know:
- If your baby is less than 3 months old, they’re probably teething. The cold air can irritate the gum and cause a runny nose or cough. If this is the case, try giving them something frozen to suck on and keep them warm indoors. Call your doctor if they’re not feeling any better after 24 hours.
- If your baby has just started walking or crawling, they may have picked up something in the yard or park that is causing their cough. Make sure that you sanitise everything that goes into their mouth after each outing so that you can avoid getting sick too!
- If you notice blood in their spit-up or stool, call your doctor immediately because it could be from an internal injury or illness like pneumonia or bronchitis—or even an allergic reaction!
Cough Remedy for Baby
The best way to get your baby to stop coughing is to ensure they’re hydrated, that you’ve gotten rid of any congestion (if it’s in their ears), and that you’ve got them in a warm, comfortable place.
The next thing you should do is try some cough medicine. You can use regular cough syrup, honey, and lemon—just ensure it’s not too thick! The idea is to soothe their throat and get them used to swallow something that won’t hurt as much as the cough itself. However, remember that you should not give any medication to your baby without the paediatrician’s advice.
If all else fails, put your baby on your chest and rock them gently until they fall asleep—or at least settle down enough that the coughing stops.
Home Remedies for Baby Cough
According to Dr Geraloga, there are home remedies for a child’s common cold and cough. But the first step is always to observe what kind of cough it is to determine the course of treatment.
For paediatricians, giving cough and cold medicines to children, especially babies, should just be the last resort. Parents should try other ways and home remedies first to treat the colds.
If your baby has a cough and cold, here are some things you can try:
1. Get the mucous out.
One of the first things experts advise when treating colds for babies is to use a nasal spray on the baby’s nose to loosen the mucous. Try to suction it out using a nasal aspirator. This will help clear the passages for the baby to breathe properly and prevent post-nasal drip leading to cough.
Do this when you notice that the baby has a stuffed nose and can’t breathe properly before breastfeeding.
Ask your paediatrician how to use a nasal spray and nasal aspirator on your baby.
2. Encourage your baby to rest.
Getting sufficient sleep is one way to keep your baby’s immune system up. It can even help your baby fight off the virus.
After you clear out the baby’s mucous with saline drops and ensure that the room is conducive, you can encourage your child to get more sleep. Don’t forget his bedtime routine (a warm bath, soothing music or a bedtime story) to help him relax. You can also elevate his head when he sleeps so he can breathe easily.
Honey can also help. According to Dr Geraloga, there are studies that honey is proven to decrease a child’s cough. However, children below 1-year-old are not allowed to have honey. It can cause a serious condition called infant botulism.
The doctor may suggest nebulisation if your baby is coughing due to asthma or having trouble breathing caused by other respiratory issues such as pneumonia or other severe allergic reactions.
With proper guidance from a doctor, nebulisation can clear congestion in babies to help them breathe better. Just make sure to consult your doctor on the proper medication and schedule of nebulisation for your child.
5. Using a humidifier
Running a cool-water humidifier in your baby’s room to moisten the air can ease nasal congestion. Just remember to change the water daily and follow the manufacturer’s instructions for cleaning the unit.
If you don’t have a humidifier at home, you can try bringing your child to the bathroom and stay there for a while to breathe in the warm mist from the shower.
6. Drink plenty of fluids.
If a virus causes a baby’s cough and cold, chances are you just need to wait it out and observe if it gets worse. Your first line of defence should be to keep your immune system up by increasing fluids.
Give your child enough fluids. For babies under 6 months of age, only breast milk or formula milk can be given. Avoid water or juice. Encourage him to rest or take a nap.
Oregano for Cough for Baby
Oregano is a great spice to add to your cupboard. It’s packed with antioxidants, has anti-inflammatory properties, and can help boost your immune system. But did you know that oregano is also helpful in treating coughs in babies?
Oregano has been used for centuries to treat children’s colds, sore throats, and congestion. The herb contains carvacrol, which acts as an expectorant and helps loosen mucus in your lungs. Not only does this help clear out the bad stuff in your lungs so they can breathe better and cough less, but it also helps prevent infection by reducing the number of germs in the airway.
You can give your little one oregano tea or use a tincture to treat his or her cough—just be sure to keep track of how much he or she drinks (and don’t overdo it!) A teaspoon of dried oregano per day is plenty for most babies
How to Relieve Cough for Baby
Cough Medicine for Baby
Cough medicine for a baby can help your little one feel better fast, but it’s important to use it properly. Here’s your guide on using cough medicine for babies safely and effectively.
When to use cough medicine for babies
If your child has a cold or flu, you can give them cough medicine for babies as soon as symptoms appear. The earlier you start using it, the better—it will help your baby feel better faster so they can get back to playing with their favourite toys in no time!
How much cough medicine for babies should I give my child?
To find out how much cough medicine for babies to give your child, you’ll need to follow these steps:
- Measure the correct amount of liquid according to the instructions on the packaging.
- Shake well before pouring any liquid into a spoon or cup (if applicable).
- Give the correct amount of liquid directly into your child’s mouth according to the instructions on the packaging.
What medications are not allowed
As previously mentioned, medicines should not be the first line of defence regarding a baby’s cough and cold. Some medicines may do more harm than good.
For instance, the Food and Drug Administration does not advise giving over-the-counter medications such as cough syrups and decongestants to children two years old and below.
If your child has a stuffy nose and is coughing because of allergies, you can give antihistamines but only with a doctor’s advice. He or she will give you the proper dosage and schedule for taking it.
Finally, if the baby has a cough and cold and is running a fever, you may give her some fever medicine (if she is 4 months old and above). But again, upon the advice of her paediatrician.
Just to be safe, always consult your child’s paediatrician before giving your baby any medication.
That is why you need to monitor your child when he is sick. Keep track of how frequent the coughing is and if the baby has trouble breathing.
Baby Cough When to Worry
Coughs and colds caused by a viral infection usually disappear after a few days. But if you notice the following signs and symptoms in your baby, you should contact your baby’s paediatrician right away:
- The baby is less than 6 months old, and the cough is frequent
- If the baby is 3 months younger and has a fever (37.8 above)
- If the baby has a fever that is 38.9 C or higher
- The cough has lasted for over 10 days
- Their cough worsens despite home remedies
- Your baby is not feeding well
- The baby is having a hard time breathing
- Night sweats, weight loss, and blood when coughing
- The baby is extra sleepy or too fussy
- There is phlegm but without wheezing or whistling, night or day
This article was written by Sofia Joco and replublished with permission from theAsianparent Philippines.
Updated by Pheona Ilagan
Here at theAsianparent Singapore, it’s important for us to give information that is correct, significant, and timely. But this doesn’t serve as an alternative for medical advice or medical treatment. theAsianparent Singapore is not responsible for those that would choose to drink medicines based on information from our website. If you have any doubts, we recommend consulting your doctor for clearer information.