Coughs aren’t usually a big deal in the grand scheme of things…but when it’s your baby, and it’s the ungodly hours of night…it can get pretty unbearable for everyone involved. Thankfully, there are some tried-and-tested remedies to help your littlie rest easier; and there’s no need to do a midnight dash to the pharmacy, either.
First things first—dispelling the myth:
“Research evidence, supported by every single respiratory society in America and Europe has found that 90 percent of over-the-counter medicines do not much or nothing for a cough,” explains pulmonologist Dr. Gustavo Ferrer.
Instead, Ferrer advises parents to determine what the cause of the cough is first, and then work from there. Coughs usually start because of a viral infection, which triggers a post-nasal drip, trickling down the back of the throat.
So the key is to treat the drip.
“There is strong evidence for saline — salty water nasal spray that parents can spray into the nose. And children of any age can use it,” says Ferrer.
Then you administer the good ol’ snot-suckage however you usually do—nasal bulbs, NoseFrida, etc. This will help your baby to both breathe easier and feed easier; which automatically equals happy time.
You also need to address the air quality in your home, because a dry environment will only aggravate the throat tickle. “I would recommend a humidifier,” says Ferrer. “They’re wonderful. You don’t have to buy the most expensive one. They tend to work very very well.”
And then, the sweet stuff.
Honey has long been purported to have magic cough-healing properties. And it’s not folklore, either. Ferrer points to a number of studies that confirm honey as more effective than OTC cough syrups. Provided that your child is over one year of age to avoid risk of botulinum poisoning, you can sprinkle a small amount of clove powder, a numbing agent, over a spoonful of honey and let your tot do the rest.
Of course, don’t let a cough linger.
“If the cough persists beyond one week and it’s associated with fever that persists more than three days, and there is yellowish mucus that’s when they should go to the doctor,” Ferrer explains.