So, here we are… smack dab in the middle of cold and flu season. And let me tell you, it’s been a rough one so far. (although, when I think about it….aren’t they all pretty rough when you have kids?)
Speaking from experience, one of the absolute worst parts about your child having a cold or the flu is the COUGHING.
And the coughing, and the coughing, and the coughing……and then even more coughing.
It can go on for weeks…and it’s annoying during the day for sure, but when nighttime rolls around, it’s even worse. Both parent and child would love to get some sleep. But the cough only intensifies, leading to long sleepless nights, and desperate Google searches trying to find your child (and you) some relief.
If you are in desperate need of some relief from your child’s continuous hacking, then look no further! I have compiled a list of tips and tricks to help you stop your child’s coughing and survive cold and flu season!
(Please note: I am not a medical professional. This information is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. All advice is for general information purposes only. Please confirm any information with your child’s physician.)
1. Drink plenty of water
I know it sounds simple, but making sure your child drinks plenty of fluids, especially water, will help their cough.
How? Well, it can loosen the mucus in the airways and also keep the throat from drying out, helping to minimize the cough. Juice also works, just try to choose one that is 100% juice, and consider diluting it with water to avoid excess sugar intake.
However, try to avoid milk because it actually tends to create more phlegm/mucus and may make your child cough even more.
2. Teaspoon of honey
A teaspoon of honey is a great way to soothe your child’s cough (just make sure that you don’t give it to a child until they are at least a year old).
It soothes throat irritation from coughing and tastes sweet enough, that there’s a chance that your kid will actually ingest it without causing too much fuss.
As a bonus, honey has naturally antibacterial properties, which sounds pretty impressive to me! 😊
If you’re looking for a good quality, raw and unfiltered honey, here’s some suggestions:
If you can’t get your child to take a teaspoon of honey, honey lollipops are another great option:
3. Apple Cider Vinegar Tea
Let me start off by saying…this one will be a little tougher to get your child to consume. To be completely honest, it doesn’t taste the greatest, but if you add enough honey and lemon to sweeten it, you might get them to choke down some of it.
Here’s how you make it: Put warm water in a mug. Add 2 tablespoons of honey, 2 tablespoons of apple cider vinegar, and 2 tablespoons of lemon juice and stir.
It’s as easy as that!
So why does it work? Well, as mentioned above, honey is a great cough suppressant and will help soothe the irritated throat. The apple cider vinegar helps kill viruses and bacteria by alkalizing the body, and it also helps thin out mucus and loosens phlegm. And the lemon contains vitamin C that can help boost the immune system to prevent bacterial and viral infections.
It’s like the ultimate cough fighting trifecta!!
Here are some Apple Cider Vinegar options:
4. Pineapple Juice
This one was new to me until the last time a cold/flu bug made its way through our house and someone suggested it to me.
Pineapple juice can be an effective way to fight cough for a couple of reasons. First, it does contain Vitamin C, which as mentioned above, can help boost your immune system. But the BIG reason, is because it contains an enzyme called Bromelain which reduces the inflammation in your airways that causes you to cough, and helps to break down and expel mucus.
Bonus: You shouldn’t have to fight too hard to get your kids to drink it because it tastes pretty yummy!
Here are some pineaple juice options available on Amazon:
5. Vicks VapoRub
Ahh, the delicious menthol smell of Vicks Vapor Rub! (said no kid, ever!) That being said, no matter how much my kids despise me using this on them, I do find it an effective way to manage their cough symptoms!
There are several ways you can administer Vicks…Of course there is the good old-fashioned way of rubbing it on their chests, but us Moms in the 21st century have gotten more creative in the way we like to use it!
Has anyone ever heard of the trick of rubbing it on your child’s feet, then putting socks on them? I know there are many people who swear by this technique, and I’ll admit, I have tried it out on my kids a time or two. Did it work? Maybe.
Hard to tell, but in a desperate late-night situation, it certainly wouldn’t hurt to try!
There are a wide variety of Vick’s products available, from kids, baby, and regular vaporub, to vapopads (that stick right to your body), to shower tablets, to vaposteam products that you can put into vaporizers and humidifiers. Here are some to consider:
6. Castor Oil
This is another remedy that I hadn’t heard of until just recently!
Castor oil has many benefits, including reducing inflammation and reducing congestion.
There are a evidently a few different ways you can use castor oil to help treat a cough. For instance, I heard of someone mixing it with Vicks VapoRub and rubbing the mixture on their child’s chest and back.
You can also make your own, natural chest rub by mixing the Castor oil with crushed garlic, ginger, eucalyptus oil and cayenne pepper (a little too much effort for my liking).
Yet another way is by making (or purchasing), something called a “castor oil pack.” I found them on Amazon, and I think I might have to give them a try! These packs have many other uses beyond cough relief. They sooth sore muscles, headache, as well as helping with damaged hair and skin irritations.
With so many uses, castor oil has been called the “miracle oil.” Which is good, because it may take a miracle to get your coughing child to sleep through the night!
If you want to give Castor Oil Packs a try, you can find them on Amazon:
7. Sleep on an Incline
Yes, try to use gravity to your advantage! Propping your child up on an extra pillow or two will help with post-nasal drip, allowing all that congestion to drain.
You could even try raising the head of the bed with books or blocks of wood if you get really desperate!
8. Diffuser with Essential Oils
To be honest, I have not fully hopped aboard the essential oil train. However, I know a lot of people who swear by them!
It’s just a little overwhelming for me to know what oil helps with what symptom, how I should administer them etc, so I haven’t fully committed to trying them!
However, from what I have read, and what has been suggested to me by friends, diffusing a mix of Lavendar and Eucalyptus oil is good for soothing a cough. There are also other oils that promote respiratory support like peppermint, rosemary, and lemon.
I am no expert, so go talk to someone who knows what they’re talking about, or do a little research of your own! Maybe essential oils are the answer to all of your child’s coughing woes!
If you are like me and just getting started with essential oils, you can buy a starter kit on Amazon that includes a diffuser, as well as some of the most commonly used oils (including lavendar, eucalyptus, and peppermint) for $30-$40. Here are some options to consider:
9. Steamy Bathroom
If your child’s throat is raw and dry, then steam could be helpful in getting rid of that back-of-the-throat tickle. The moisture can also ease their breathing and loosen mucus, helping them to cough it up.
Close the door to your bathroom and run a hot shower for several minutes, allowing the steam to accumulate in the room. Then have your child take a warm bath in the steamy room.
It can work wonders! This can be especially helpful for babies who are too young to take over-the-counter cough suppressants.
10. Over the Counter Medicine
Speaking of cough suppressants…..I’m sure there are many a “crunchy” mom out there that will disagree with me on this, but, when it comes to my kids getting sick, GIVE ME ALL THE MEDICINE.
Doctors will also tell you that there is conflicting research as to whether cough suppressants are actually effective or not. Well damnit, it’s worth a shot!
Especially when it comes to nighttime medicine. Even if the cough suppressant itself isn’t all that effective, whatever low dose of tranquilizer is in there gives me at least a shot of getting some sleep while my kid is sick! So, bring on the drugs! (all joking aside, PLEASE use all over-the-counter medicine as directed!)
Sidenote: Stay tuned for a future post where I break down the best children’s medicine for cold and flu!
Here are some of my top pics when it comes to over-the-counter medicine:
11. Detox Bath
This is another method that I have not tried out myself yet, but I am definitely going to! (for my children, as well as myself)! Evidently there are a lot of benefits from taking regular detox baths (like promoting better sleep, removing toxins from the body, relieving stress, and improving focus), but they also can be very effective at fighting colds fast!
All you need to do for a detox bath is fill up the bathtub half-way with warm water. Then add ½ cup Epsom salt (1 cup for children over 60 pounds or adults) and 2 tablespoons of baking soda (4 tablespoons for children over 60 pounds or adults). Stir with your hands to dissolve.
Have your child sit in the bath for 15-20 minutes. (make sure they do not drink the water, as the magnesium in the Epsom salt can have a laxative effect- unless your kid is constipated, then 2 birds, one stone? – Just kidding, don’t! 😉). Before getting out of the tub, have them rinse off well.
Double bonus: the magnesium in the Epsom salt also promotes sleep! So hopefully your child will be ready for bed after their bath!! If you are interested in learning more about detox baths, I plan to do a whole post about their benefits in the near future!
Here’s everything you need for the Detox bath:
Choose an Epsom Salt:
And A Baking Soda:
Of course, preventing your child from getting sick in the first place is the ultimate goal here. So, what can you do to keep your child from getting sick?
No, I am NOT going to tell you to have them wash their hands (although this is supposedly one of the most effective ways to prevent sickness). However, from my experience, you would have to make sure that your child is washing their hands 3,000 times a day to prevent them from ingesting germs. Because let’s be honest, kids are gross.
So, my thought is, all I can do is try to make sure that my kids’ immune systems are as strong as possible, so that when they inevitably get exposed to germs, they will either avoid getting sick, or at least be able to fight it off fast!
There are many supplements that you can give to your child to help boost their immune system, including a good multivitamin, vitamin C, probiotics, Vitamin D3, Fish Oil, Elderberry syrup, etc.
Stay tuned for a future post where I will explain the benefits of each of these supplements (based on my research) and product recommendations!
Well, there you have it: my 12 tips to get your child to stop coughing!
If you’re reading this, you likely have a sick child on your hands, and I feel your pain Momma!! I hope this list gave you at least one idea that you haven’t heard before to help get rid of your child’s cough! And don’t worry, they will be better soon! (chances are they will be sick again in a couple of weeks, but let’s try to focus on the positive! 😉 ).