The delicate health of children, which is yet to develop proper immunity to common ailments, is rocked by cough and cold in their childhood. Cough is caused by influenza, allergies, congestion of sinus or any other type of throat infection. It is wise to get the child checked by a health professional to rule out any serious health issue, especially if the cough persists.
Though cough in children may not sound alarming, it can be strenuous on their delicate bodies, disturbing their peaceful sleep and causing soreness in their tummy and chest. Over-the-counter medicine for cough and cold for children below 2 years of age has been withdrawn after FDA issued a warning against them. Most of the parents are aware about the harmful effects of over the counter cough medicines, especially in infants and toddlers. Fortunately, preparing a homemade alternative cough remedy which is effective is easy and safe.
Give plenty of fluids
The trick is to keep the children hydrated by increasing their fluid intake; it doesn’t matter what they drink. Infants can be given breast or bottle milk, older children can take warm milk, water or diluted juices of fresh fruits. Warm or slightly hot water is best for older children. Fluids will loosen the phlegm which has been irritating and blocking the airway.
Turmeric with milk
This is a time tested remedy used by Indians for ages. Bring milk to boil in a broad pan. Add ½ tsp of turmeric powder to it and boil for 5 minutes. Add sugar for taste and feed it to the child when still warm. This is one of the best proven home remedy for cough and cold. It is very helpful when given before the child goes to bed at night.
It is dangerous to allow the children to inhale steam like an adult would, as it may damage the delicate internal respiratory organs of the child. Run hot water in shower and sit in the closed bathroom with the child. Another way is to boil water and then add a bit of Vicks to it. Make the child sit in your lap. Cover yourself and the child in a blanket with the hot water bowl inside. This mild inhalation of steam will give instant relief to the child.
Applying vapor rubs to the chest and back of the child and then covering them up during the night is good remedy for night time coughing and congestion. It is widely believed that rubbing vapor rub on the feet and putting a warm sock will cure coughing better than applying it on chest.
Honey and ginger
Honey has been used by all over the world as a cure for cough since ancient times. Add a pinch of dry ginger powder and 1 tsp of honey to a cup or hot water. Give this to the child for quick relief from dry cough. Honey with lemon juice added to water makes it a tasty beverage for the child. Children, who are fussy of what they drink, can be given honey with a glass of grape, apple or orange juice also.
Mustard oil with garlic and carom seeds
Heat ¼ cup of mustard oil and add 15 cloves of crushed garlic and add 1 tsp of carom seeds to it. Fry it well. Cool the oil, strain and store it in an airtight glass bottle. Heat this oil a little bit and apply on neck, forehead and chest of the child for relief from persistent cough.