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As you tip-toe out of your sleeping toddler's room, you hear her coughing. Fret no more! Here are some home remedies that may offer her relief.
Medical dictionaries describe a cough as the forceful and audible expelling of air from the lungs to clear the lungs and/or the throat of irritants and secretions. The Mayo Clinic's description of a cough causes us to marvel at the functioning of the human body. When your toddler's throat or lungs are irritated, nerves are stimulated to send messages to her brain. Her brain, in turn, commands the muscles of her chest and abdomen to push air out through the lungs to expel the irritant. While an infrequent or occasional cough is quite healthy, a persistent cough can tire your little darling. Coughs can cause her to lose sleep and sometimes give her a headache. However, there is no cause for worry as these home remedies will help you aid her recovery. Everything you will need is already available in your home. So, get ready for some inexpensive and side-effect free ways to do away with pesky coughs.
The Vedic civilization extensively exploited the benefits of honey, especially for lung health. In more recent times, a study by the Mayo Clinic revealed that the humble honey is as good at suppressing coughs as over-the-counter medicines. Its affordability, availability and lack of sedative properties make honey an ideal cough reliever for toddlers. Give your toddler a spoonful of honey thirty minutes before bedtime to coat her throat and ease its soreness. You may try different varieties of honey to change flavours. Some varieties are eucalyptus honey and citrus honey. Take caution, though, that children below the age of two years must not be given honey as it may cause botulism, a kind of life-threatening food poisoning.
Very often coughs are caused by postnasal drip that irritates the airways and wind-pipe. A postnasal drip is nature's way of your toddler's sinuses being drained of mucous. When she is in a prone or lying-down position, the mucous may hoard up at the back of her nose and throat and irritate her airways, causing her to cough. This is quite common among children with allergies. Propping up your little angel's head with a thin pillow or a folded towel, at a very slight angle, can make a difference. This will cause her sinuses to drain down her throat without accumulating and causing discomfort or coughs.
A persistent cough requires a visit to the doctor. To find out when you should worry, click here.
Steam can reduce any swelling or soreness in your toddler's respiratory track. The warm moisture will also soften mucous and make it easier for her to blow her nose or cough up phlegm. You can leave a humidifier on in her room at night. It will fill the room will soothing moist air. As an alternative, you may also turn it on for her for fifteen to twenty minutes before bedtime. This can ensure peaceful and cough-free sleep.
Add a few drops of eucalyptus / peppermint oil to a teaspoon of coconut oil. Apply a few dabs on the chest, back and soles of your toddler's feet. Cover her with a warm blanket and put socks on her feet. It may sound strange, but it works! The heat from your child's body causes the oils to vaporize and form a cloud, which helps to dilate the bronchioles and eases breathing. It also relieves soreness of the throat.
Saline or mild salt water solution can work wonders to relieve your toddler's cough. Use saline as nasal drops for her. If she knows how to gargle, also use saline for her to gargle with. Saline extracts extra secretions from the throat and eases irritations. This can cure her of the cough completely. Saline also loosens mucous, and kills bacteria and allergens from the throat, mouth and nose.
These at-hand measures are valuable and useful. Nevertheless, in spite of these remedial measures, if your little one's cough persists or if her mucous is thick and coloured or bloody, take her to her paediatrician. If her cough is severe, she could suffer from urinary incontinence and even broken ribs. Remember to look out for when your little darling needs medical attention.
Hannah S Mathew is a freelance teacher, trainer and certified diagnostic counsellor.