Cough in a child: how to treat

Our body constantly protects itself from external influences with the help of various reflexes. Cough is one of these reflexes that occurs in response to irritation of special cough receptors located in the mucous membrane of the respiratory tract. The cough clears the respiratory tract of foreign agents, both infectious and non-infectious.

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Types of cough

Cough effectively clears the airways

Before treating a child's cough, it is necessary to find out - why did it arise? The different characteristics of the cough are also very important.


  • Prolonged - if the child's cough lasts for 3-6 weeks. If the cough is lingering, this may be a sign of chronic bronchitis or other respiratory diseases that have become chronic.
  • Acute - if the child's cough lasts less than 3 weeks. This cough is typical for ARVI. As a rule, at the beginning it is dry (without sputum), after a few days it becomes wet (there is expectoration of sputum or mucus)

By nature:

  • Dry - attacks of such a cough in a child at night do not allow him to fully rest, and lead to a deterioration in the general condition. Poor sleep is a characteristic "companion" of dry cough in a child.
  • Wet (productive) - cough with sputum or mucus of various colors and consistencies. A moist cough clears the airways of infection and mucus.

By tone:

  • Barking cough - indeed, reminiscent of a dog barking, especially "performed" by children 1-2 years old. With such a cough, you should immediately consult a doctor for the presence of a foreign body in the respiratory tract.
  • A hoarse cough - indicates inflammation of the vocal cords. As a rule, it is accompanied by hoarseness.
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  • Convulsive cough - may indicate a very dangerous, especially for infants, infectious disease - whooping cough. A whistling cough in a child lasts continuously for up to 30 seconds, after which he tries to catch his breath. Pertussis is characterized by the development of vomiting after coughing fits.

Cough in a child without fever and runny nose

The most common causes of cough in a child are acute respiratory infections (ARVI), which accompanied by an increase in body temperature, runny nose, lethargy and moodiness.

Of course, it is necessary to see a doctor, as a wet or dry cough in a child without fever and runny nose may indicate more serious illness than a respiratory infection.

Bronchial asthma - characterized by a hacking dry cough with whistling sounds. It arises, as a rule, as a result of external factors:

  • after active physical exertion;
  • in the cold;
  • against the background of emotional experiences;
  • from contact with plants or animals;
  • from pungent odors.

The peak of coughing attacks in bronchial asthma occurs in the early morning and night.

Allergy - with allergic reactions, there are frequent episodes of dry cough in a child without fever, but they are usually accompanied by a profuse runny nose, sometimes even a rash on the skin. In this case, in most cases, there is a sore throat. An allergist will help determine the allergen using special tests and prescribe treatment. Without this, there is a high probability of developing complications, for example, bronchial asthma.

ENT diseases - sometimes accompanied by a wet cough in a child without fever, with the release of a large amount of phlegm, which flows from the nasopharynx into the trachea, causing a cough.

ARVI - the disease is accompanied by cough, fever, and runny nose, however, even after recovery, a child's cough without fever can continue for some time.

So that the doctor can more accurately and quickly determine the cause of cough in a child without fever and runny nose, analyze a number of factors before the visit:

  • how strong and prolonged the child's cough is;
  • what is the child's cough - dry, wet, barking or convulsive - describe the child's cough;
  • whether there are external signs that cause coughing fits;
  • whether there are symptoms accompanying the cough, such as vomiting;
  • at what time of day the cough is most intense;
  • Whether the child's emotional state affects coughing fits.

As much information as possible from parents will make it easier for the doctor to diagnose

How to help a child with a cough

Help from parents to a child with a cough consists, first of all, in maximum care and attention - he must feel safety and reliability in the family. Of course, you need to consult a pediatrician who will help you develop a plan of action at all stages of treatment and prevent any negative consequences.

Treatment is prescribed by the physician, and it is the responsibility of the parents to ensure that it is followed in a clear and consistent manner. To relieve a child's cough, Stodal syrup is often recommended, which has antimicrobial, antitussive and anti-inflammatory effects1. It helps to relieve coughing and has no age limit2.

Stodal is especially effective at the initial stage of ARVI therapy. Taking Stodal syrup from the first days of the disease can reduce the treatment of cough against the background of ARVI to 1 week3.

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When a wet cough is necessary funds with mucolytic and expectorant effect, preferably plant-based. In addition, bronchodilators are indicated, which reduce bronchospasm and facilitate the separation of sputum.

The use of any drug should be accompanied by plenty of warm drinks. It is optimal to give warm milk with honey, compotes, juices to drink, but not black tea, which tends to aggravate the cough.

When coughing, do not gargle with soda solution - soda dries mucous membranes, which leads to increased irritation

In the room where the child is, it is necessary to provide a comfortable temperature, a constant supply of fresh air and humidity at 70 %. Outdoor walks are also important, but without active games. A clear daily routine, timely medication, food intake and adequate sleep are important.

Traditional methods of treating a cough in a child

Treatment prescribed by a doctor may be accompanied by the use of traditional medicine. First of all, these are various decoctions of berries and plants, such as raspberries, black currants, rose hips, linden, chamomile. They can be used as inhalers, compresses, and also as a warm drink, which is so necessary for respiratory diseases, accompanied by a cough in a child.

The usual mustard plasters, which can only be used in the absence of fever, should be attributed to folk remedies for coughing in a child. Gargling with extracts from eucalyptus, calendula, chamomile will help soften mucous membranes and reduce inflammation.

1Lokshina E., Zaitseva O. et al. Experience of using the naturopathic drug Stodal in children with acute respiratory infections. Pediatrics 2016, 95 .

2According to the instructions for medical use of the drug Stodal

3Selkova EP., Lapitskaya A. S., Gudova N. V., Radtsig E. Yu., Ermilova N. V. The tactics of treating unproductive cough in children with diseases of the respiratory tract of viral etiology. Attending physician, No. 8, 2013, 84–88.

Attention! The information presented in the article is for informational purposes only. The materials of the article do not call for self-treatment. Only a qualified doctor can diagnose and give recommendations for treatment, based on the individual characteristics of a particular patient.