Wednesday, 13 June 2012

Kids and Coughs

Whether your child is at pre-school or primary school, the chances are that he or she will be picking up a lot of coughs and colds during the academic year. Children this age usually have between three and eight coughs per year, which can be a real drain on the child themselves and the family as a whole. Night-time coughing can be distressing for the child and interrupt sleep for everyone, resulting in tiredness on top of the already unpleasant cough or cold symptoms.

Coughs are partly a fact of life but they can also be more of a problem for children like my son Secundus, who has asthmatic tendencies. He is unlikely to be able to shake off a cough unless his condition is managed with a prescribed inhaler. Without the regular use of a preventative inhaler, any cough usually develops into a chest infection and often requires antibiotics in the end.

It is important to identify what kind of cough your child has, and if your child has any of these you should consult your doctor:
  • Cough that is accompanied by any wheezing or breathing difficulties (Secundus’ usual symptoms). It's worth thinking about hayfever at this time of year, as well as asthma. 
  • A croup cough which has a barking sound.
  • A whooping cough that has a very distinctive sound: a severe dry-sounding coughing spell that lasts 20-30 seconds and is followed by a whooping noise as your child draws breath.
If your child has a cough, there are a number of approaches you can try to aid recovery. Olbas oil or eucalyptus oil dropped onto a handkerchief and placed near your child (but out of his or her reach) is a great way to clear the airways. A teaspoonful of Vicks vapour rub (or generic equivalent) dissolved in a bowl of steaming water will also help him or her to breathe, but make sure the child cannot get anywhere near the hot water.
Image : Nelsons

When a child wakes up coughing in the night, it’s natural to want to do everything possible to give him or her some relief, without over-medicating. Those who remember Nelsons teething powders with fondness will be glad to know that Nelsons have brought out a cough syrup. Nelsons Sootha brings gentle relief to coughs, is free of artificial colourings and flavourings and does not cause drowsiness. Nelsons Sootha is suitable for children aged 12 months onwards. It costs £4.10 for 150ml and is available from Boots. (It goes without saying that you should always read the label).

Sootha contains 6c homeopathic potency of natural Bryonia, in a honey rich and zesty lemon base. Honey is very well known not only for its sweet taste, which is popular with children, but also for being a great natural remedy, which has been used for centuries. Bryonia (more commonly known as Bryony), is a yellow flowering climbing plant, which has been used in homeopathic tradition for the symptomatic relief of coughs, stimulating the body’s own natural healing processes.

Nelsons are offering readers of Mumtopia vouchers for Stuck on You so you can buy a personalized school bag, drinks bottle, stationery or other personalized gift for your little one to help brighten up their day if they are feeling unwell. This will be a lovely treat for your child when they are well enough to return to toddler group, nursery or school. To enter the competition, please follow the instructions in the rafflecopter box below. UK residents only.


  1. I found tea tree oil to be brilliant at treating my daughter's verruca, far more effective than the stuff you can buy over the counter.

  2. great blog, always thought nothing really works for coughs, so will definitely try this one next time!

    Favorite remedy in our household is Aloe Vera - straight from the plant - great for cuts and bruises :)

    1. Thanks, Katja. Good luck in the Stuck On You giveaway. :)

  3. I love aromatherapy oils.... I usually find lavender or tea tree will cover most minor problems. Also aloe vera and arnica come in useful for cuts & bruises

    1. Thanks Kathleen, yes those four come in really handy, don't they. Good luck in this giveaway!

  4. Aside from these tips you've mentioned, you can also give your child medicine with guaifenesin. Guaifenesin is a type of expectorant which reduces the thickness of the mucus so that it would be easier for your kids to cough up the phlegm and remove it from their airways. You just have to read the instructions carefully, as there is a recommended dosage for your kids.


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