Special Health Report: Your Kid's Cough

8 Home Remedies

All that coughing can leave your child with a sore, scratchy throat. Help him feel better fast, Parents says, with these Mom-tested tricks:

  • Push fluids. Keep your child's throat and mucous membranes moist — and help prevent dehydration — by encouraging her to drink lots of water, diluted fruit juices, ginger ale and electrolyte solutions.
  • Give a little cold comfort. Frozen desserts such as ice pops, sherbet and sorbet are a tasty way to numb an irritated throat.
  • Serve chicken soup. Studies show chicken soup contains anti-inflammatory substances that may ease cold and flu symptoms. The warmth also will soothe a sore throat with every swallow.
  • Gargle with salt water. If your child is 4 or older, have her gargle several times a day with a saline solution — 1 teaspoon of salt dissolved in 1/2 cup of warm water — to reduce inflammation.
  • Use a damp cloth. If your child's cough is accompanied by a fever, try laying a cool, damp cloth across his forehead and using another one to stroke downward on his arms and legs to dissipate the heat. (Stroking upward generates heat.)
  • Elevate her head. Keeping your child's head elevated as she sleeps will prevent mucus from clogging her nasal passages, which can aggravate a cough. If your child is older than 2, give her an extra pillow or have her sleep on her side or tummy. For a baby, place a pillow below the crib mattress to prop up the area where her head rests. (Never put a pillow directly in a baby's crib, because it can cause suffocation.)
  • Try a humidifier. A cool-mist humidifier can help keep your child's mucous membranes moist as he sleeps. Clean it daily to prevent bacteria or mold buildup.
  • Take care of her nose. A cough often goes hand in hand with an icky runny nose. Help soothe sensitive skin and prevent infection by applying petroleum jelly or an antibiotic ointment to your child's upper lip and around her nose.

Copyright©: 2005 Meredith Corporation.

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