Your kid’s cough: what you need to know

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A kid's cough can be tiresome business for both your child and you. We bring you great information about children's coughs, including 5 home remedies and when you should take your child to the doctor. Keep reading!

It must be the extra-dry weather we’ve been having in Singapore over the last few months. My kids have been sick with coughs and colds for what feels like forever. It’s awful seeing them sick, especially my two-year-old who, with his limited communication, cannot express his discomfort to me properly.

Cough remedies for kids

Cough remedies for kids: A kid’s cough – wet or dry – can be equally annoying for both the child and her parents.

For me as a mum, the worst part of dealing with a cold is the dry or wet cough that more often than not accompanies it and continues way after the runny nose, sneezing and fever are over.

A kid’s cough — whether dry or phlegmy — can be terribly irritating for a child. A dry cough is usually at its worst at night, and will keep your child (and you) up until the wee hours of the morning.

A wet or phlegmy cough can be as bad, maybe worse, because of the risk of it turning into bronchitis if the phlegm isn’t expelled.

cough remedies for kids

Tip: if your child is coughing, prevent germs from spreading to others by having him wash his hands often with warm, soapy water, cover his mouth while coughing, or wear a kid-friendly face mask.

There are plenty of over-the-counter cough medicines designed both for your kid’s cough — but many of these are a nasty concoction of chemicals that you would rather not have in your child’s system.

Why should you avoid over-the-counter medicine for your kid’s cough?

Medical experts say that kids’ cough and cold medicines don’t really help and may pose a risk (although small) of side effects, especially to young children. In relation to cough medicines, experts recommend avoiding:

  • Cough suppresants that contain the chemical dextromethorphan or DM; and
  • Cough expectorants that contain guaifenesin.

While you might not be familiar with the names of these drugs, you can check the label of a cough syrup box and you’ll see that these are the the active ingredients in many brands of kids’ cough medicines commonly available in pharmacies.

cough remedies for kids

As tempting as it is it give kids an over-the-counter cough syrup, medical experts suggest not to, as cough syrups do not help the cough and can have side effects.

A problem with these medicines is that the effects are usually only studied in adults and then applied to children, even though adults and kids may not react to these medicines in the same way.

What’s the danger of using these medicines for your kid’s cough?

  • You could accidently give a child a dose that’s too high.
  • Parents could use two different brands at the same time, not realising they contain the same ingredients.
  • Parents could measure the wrong dose by mistake if they get up in the middle of the night to soothe a coughing child.

Medical experts strongly discourage parents from giving kids under 4 years old over-the-counter cough medicines because of the various risks they pose. These medicines neither cure the cough nor lessen its duration.

Also, the danger with cough suppressants is that these may prevent your child’s body from expelling phlegm, which could then accumulate and turn into bronchitis or pneumonia.

You can easily help soothe your kid’s cough and the discomfort associated with it using much gentler home remedies. Find out what these are on the next page!

Read up on home remedies for your kid’s cough on the next page…

Child Health