Modern parents can hardly believe that fresh, pure and damp air is also a very effective remedy to treat cough in children (infants) instead of numerous medical preparations, such as, syrups, pastilles, lozenges and other drugs. So, what should you do if you baby coughs regularly?
It turns out that folk remedies to treat coughs are cheap and more rational.
One should know that a cough is not a separate malady, but a symptom of some other disease. For example: URTI or allergy. That’s why, it’s required to start to treat a disease to attend to the cough immediately.
Cough in infants is often a result of a nasal cold. Since a baby spends much of their time horizontal, nasal liquid flows down into the throat partially and it causes a cough. Hold your baby vertically and clean the nose. Probably, these steps will help to solve your problem for a little while.
In general, cough treatment is based on two principle methods.
Drug therapy (expectorant and non – medicamental agents: damp and cool air delivery by means of nebulizer and humidifier, drinking plenty of water and regular walking.
Is it Useless to Treat a Cough?
Many children cough from time to time. As a rule, it happens because of some kind of disease, but sometimes the reason of cough is the bad air they breathe. Parents should understand that cough isn’t a separate malady or some kind of illness. A cough is a symptom of a disease which affects adversely respiratory tracts or just irritates them. That’s why it is rather pointless to treat only the cough in children.
First of all you should start treating the disease to attend to this malady. As to cough, just do your best to alleviate it.
A Cough Can Be a Defense Reaction
In most cases, coughs in children are a defense reaction of the body from harmful deleterious effect. Virus and bacteria attack provoke increased mucus amount development on mucous membranes of respiratory tracts. As a result, we try to get rid of this mucus by means of cough.
Why do people cough? Cough prevents acute inflammatory process, such as bronchitis or pneumonia.
Very often cough is attended by nasal cold, especially in infants. Since a baby spends a lot of time horizontally, snivels flow out of nose and go back into swallow and larynx. It causes cough reflex.
Diseases to Provoke Cough
We already know that a cough isn’t a separate malady, but a symptom of some disease or harmful air environment.
- poor air.
Frequent causative agents of cough in children are infectious diseases or allergy (about 92% of all cough cases in children). About 90% are infections, and 10% is allergic reaction. The primary cause of infective diseases to provoke cough is upper respiratory tract infections.
However, cough is not the only symptom of a disease. Unfortunately, it’s very hard to define the real reason of this malady, proceeding from its type only. It may be either infectious disease or allergy, dead air in flat. An experienced doctor only can estimate a case, taking into account a number of factors and symptoms.
Apart from real diseases (allergy or infections), cough may be caused by external factors, i.e. poor air (not full of toxins and ash). Sometimes, a baby can’t stop coughing because a room is not well – aired or baby’s bed is placed close to heater. Dry air makes lungs produce additional mucus we want to get rid of, clearing our throat. However, in case of dry air membrane mucus dries up and it causes dry cough.
Cough in children is worse than in adults
The point is that respiratory muscles work while we cough. Reflex contraction of certain muscles group leads to spitting of mucus. Children under 3 – 4 years of age have weak respiratory muscles. That’s why it is difficult for them to spit mucus, comparing with adults.
In case a baby can’t spit all mucus, then the virus may settle down. That means it may lead to some acute after effects of illness (usual cold may turn into lingering bronchitis or pneumonia). If there is dry air in a room, and your baby is all clogged up and can breathe through his mouth only, then sputum in lungs dries up.
Short cough is very hard to treat. When mucus, produced by respiratory tracts during cold or allergic attack dries up, it reduces by volume, but becomes thicker like fine raisings. To spit this nubbin, respiratory muscles should work hard in this case. Unfortunately, weak muscles of infants don’t let them to do that.
In order to alleviate this process, it is necessary to make this mucus more liquid.
There are two ways to do this:
- Drug usage to alleviate cough and maintains mucus leading from respiratory tracts.
- Two types of medications: the first type suppresses cough mechanism, the seconds one dilutes mucus so that a baby could easily spit it. Moreover, in case of allergic cough, a baby needs an antihistamine.
- Don’t use drugs to treat cough in children
There are simple effective ways to lead excessive mucus from respiratory tracts and ease one’s cough:
- It’s required to dampen the air in baby’s room. In order to moisten respiratory tracts, let the child breathe damp air. If you need to increase humidity, use air damper in a room. In case you don’t have air damper, you can try nebulizer inhaler.
Besides, in the last centuries, doctors used to recommend consumptives dewy maritime climate.
- Mucus is produced by special glands, located on mucous membranes of respiratory tracts. Mucus viscosity is directly connected with blood viscosity. Thus, if you want to alleviate baby’s cough, (i.e. to make it diluted, then reduce blood viscosity. The best way to rich this result is regular drinking, for example: water, stewed fruit, fruit drink or tea.
Moreover, any expectorant drug, comparing with lots of drinking or air damping method, is rather ineffective remedy under cough treatment. In other words, if you moisten air in the room and give your baby a lot of drinking, then a baby gets rid of cough in a short space of time.
Komarovkii E. O., a well – known pediatrician claims that usual compote and well – aired room is much better than any expensive and modern expectorant drugs.
- It is required to walk! Another wide – spread myth is that your baby shouldn’t walk under cough and snot. In fact, if your baby hasn’t temperature above 38ºC, then this recommendation is necessary in order to air respiratory tracts.
- Drugs and preparations to stop cough in children
In fact, experts recommend fighting with cough in children by means of methods listed above. However, parents shouldn’t forget about medicinal agents of cough treatment. The following preparations are used for children below 6 years of age:
- Drugs to suppress cough reflex.
When Should We Use Such Preparations and Why?
Preparations to suppress cough are used in case cough process is not connected with lungs condition. For example, in case of pertussis, acute cough is not connected with lungs affection, but with think tank, to be responsible for cough (cough receptors are being irritated). Moreover, cough may be provoked by some external factors, such as, a lot of dust in air or slash with smoke.
That means we should resort to such preparations when cough doesn’t depend on mucus amount in lugs, but it is a defense mechanism against alien and harmful particles to come into lugs with air.
Keep in mind that drugs to stop cough and suppress cough reflex are strictly prescribed by doctors only!
- Expectorant agents are preparations to increase sputum amount and dilute mucus.
Don’t be surprised if baby’s cough becomes worse after taking such preparation (as a rule such preparations for babies are turned out in syrup form). Well, such drug dilutes sputum and dry cough turns into productive cough. It increases mucus and organism tries to get rid respiratory tracts of this mucus. Cough becomes more intensive and lungs with bronchial tubes rid themselves of mucus clumps. Thereafter, risk of complications is reduced. Expectorants can be found in any drugstore, i.e. medical herbs, tasty syrups our children like so much. Such preparations dilute sputum and intensify cough as a rule. Thanks to these drugs sputum comes out of lugs in a short space of time.
However, one should remember that damp climate in a room and lots of drinking is also very effective method to treat cough without any expectorants.
How to Treat Cough in Children Without Fatal Mistakes?
Usually parents make 2 very serious mistakes while treating cough in their children:
- It is not allowed to give a baby drugs to suppress cough without doctor’s prescription. For example: due to some reasons (cold, allergy) baby’s lungs are full of lots of mucus. Of course a baby coughs in order to get rid of this mucus. If you give your baby a drug to suppress the cough, then mucus starts accumulating and prevents air circulation in lugs. Moreover, viruses or bacteria in mucus sink to the walls of lungs and cause inflammatory process to result in unavoidable complications, such as bronchitis, pneumonia and so on.
- It is prohibited to give your baby two types of preparations at the same time: drugs to suppress cough reflex and expectorants to dilute expectoration. In this case you increase mucus amount in respiratory tracts and a baby won’t be able to expectorate it at all. It leads to moist rales and you will need to see a doctor immediately.
How to Treat Coughs in Babies
So there are two principle methods to get rid of cough:
- Cool and dewy climate, lots of drinking, regular walking.
- Two types of drugs: to suppress cough reflex and expectorant agents.
It should be noted that is not allowed to use preparations without doctor’s prescription since they affect mucus in lugs and bronchial tubes.
In fact, there are diseases of lower respiratory tracts, i.e., diseases to affect lungs and bronchial tubes, including diseases of upper respiratory tracts (nasal area, nasopharynx, paranasal sinus, larynx).
Actually, there is no sense to treat upper respiratory tracts by means of expectorant preparations as far as they affect mucus in lungs and bronchial tubes.
It is not recommended to treat diseases of lower respiratory tracts to your discretion. For instance, if you give your baby expectorant agent in case of throat tickling, then the baby will be coughing all night long because this drug provokes mucus development in lungs and bronchial tubes.
What Parents Should Do?
First of all drugs usage should be strictly controlled by pediatricians, however, parents can also fight cough by means of room aeration, air damping. Regular drinking and walking are required in order to get rid of cough in children.
The best room temperature is about 21 – 22ºC, air moisture is 65 – 70%.
Well, these methods are very useful and effective, moreover, they are the cheapest to stop cough without any drugs, syrups, sprays and other medications.
Non – allergic cough in baby should be treated by simple methods such as cool climate in flat, active life pattern of all family, regular drinking during some days.
What methods do you use to treat a cough in your baby?
- Room aeration, air damping.
- Pharmaceutical expectorants.
- I try to treat the root to stop cough.
- I believe baby’s body can fight this malady by itself.