Wet Cough

by Sam Malone


Coughing is a common symptom of sickness in both children and adults. It is caused by a reflex action of the body and helps to keep the chest and airways clear of mucus buildup. There are two types of coughs, the dry or unproductive ones and the wet or productive coughs. Wet coughs help the body to expel mucus and sputum from the airways while dry coughs are often symptomatic of an infection in the lungs or the windpipe. Coughs that subside after a few days are termed ad acute while those that last for longer than a month are termed as chronic.

Coughs in children may be caused by allergies, asthma or upper respiratory tract infections. The most common cause of a wet cough in children however, is the common cold. Since this is usually not serious, it passes within a few days and the child is able to continue with his or her daily routine. However, in some cases, a cough caused by a cold may develop into bronchitis. This occurs when the air passages in the lungs get infected by the cold virus. Acute cases of bronchitis may last for a few weeks but may develop into chronic bronchitis owing to factors such as air pollution and lowered immunity. For this reason it is essential that any wet cough in the case of a child be reported immediately to the doctor.

The treatment for wet cough in the case of children is usually supportive but may require the use of medications such as expectorants or antibiotics in the case of bacterial infections. Supportive care including home remedies includes:

  • Give the child plenty of fluids that will soothe his or her throat. Apple juice, chicken soup and warm broth are three of the popular home remedies. Apart from their nutritional value, they will also help to thin out the mucus secretions making it easier for your child to expectorate.
  • A spoonful of warm honey will also help soothe the throat and combat any infection. Honey should only be given if your child is older than 1 year.
  • Use a humidifier in the room. This will thin out the mucus secretions making them easier for your child to cough them out.
  • Give your child a steam bath twice a day. This can be done by running a hot shower with the shower curtain drawn so that the steam can accumulate in the enclosed space. Inhaling the steamy air will help to thin out the mucus secretions making it easier for your child to expectorate.
  • If you are a smoker, do not smoke anywhere near your child or in the house. A smoke filled environment will just aggravate your child’s cough and may lead to serious complications such as bronchitis.
  • Give your child plenty of yogurt or probiotics. These foods contain live bacteria that are beneficial in many ways. While usually recommended for intestinal disorders, probiotics may also help in cases of upper respiratory tract infections.
You can also try giving your child supplements that will help to strengthen his or her immune system. These include:
  • Give the child plenty of fluids that will soothe his or her throat. Apple juice, chicken soup and warm broth are three of the popular home remedies. Apart from their nutritional value, they will also help to thin out the mucus secretions making it easier for your child to expectorate.
  • A spoonful of warm honey will also help soothe the throat and combat any infection. Honey should only be given if your child is older than 1 year.
  • Use a humidifier in the room. This will thin out the mucus secretions making them easier for your child to cough them out.
  • Give your child a steam bath twice a day. This can be done by running a hot shower with the shower curtain drawn so that the steam can accumulate in the enclosed space. Inhaling the steamy air will help to thin out the mucus secretions making it easier for your child to expectorate.
  • If you are a smoker, do not smoke anywhere near your child or in the house. A smoke filled environment will just aggravate your child’s cough and may lead to serious complications such as bronchitis.
  • Give your child plenty of yogurt or probiotics. These foods contain live bacteria that are beneficial in many ways. While usually recommended for intestinal disorders, probiotics may also help in cases of upper respiratory tract infections.
You can also try giving your child supplements that will help to strengthen his or her immune system. These include:

  • Vitamin C supplements: These are known to strengthen the immune system and can help your child’s body to fight off the cold.
  • N – acetylecysteine (NAC): This dietary amino acid has antioxidant properties that may help relieve symptoms of bronchitis.
  • Echinacea: This herbal extract may help prevent colds or shorten their duration by strengthening the body’s immune system.
  • Andrographis (Andrographic paniculata): This herb can lessen symptoms of cold as well as lower the chances of developing bronchitis.
  • Garlic: Garlic may help prevet the occurrence of colds and coughs and can also speed up the recovery time.

Consult your doctor before attempting any of these home remedies including the use of supplements as some of them may be unsuitable for children.

Reference:

  1. http://www.umm.edu/altmed/articles/bronchitis-000019.htm

Warning: The reader of this article should exercise all precautionary measures while following instructions on the home remedies from this article. Avoid using any of these products if you are allergic to it. The responsibility lies with the reader and not with the site or the writer.
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