The first sign of sickness in most children is a cough. The coughing in children may begin as a dry cough, which may turn wet or productive as time passes. In normal circumstances, a cough is our body's way of clearing the wind pipe. Healthy children as well as adults may suffer from bouts of cough. Though many a time, it is harmless, when the cough stays for a longer period, it can also be a sign of sickness.
Wet cough in children may sound similar to a bark and is characterized by the production of phlegm (or mucus) and chest congestion. It is essential to identify the nature of the cough and treat it accordingly. If you notice your child having fever and wet cough, then immediate medical attention may be necessary, as it can be the first sign of infection.
Causes of Wet Cough in Children
There can be a number of reasons why children may suffer from severe coughing at night or during the day. Most of the time, a bacterial or viral infestation may be the root cause. However, apart from it other factors may also trigger episodes of coughing.
- A wet or productive cough can be a result of some allergies in the respiratory tract. Environmental irritants, harmful pathogens, pollution and cigarette smoke etc. may trigger cough and other symptoms related to it.
- If the child is a victim of asthma, then he may also experience productive cough, which may occur during the day or night. There are two variations of asthma, the regular one and the cough variant asthma. It is the regular asthma which produces a wet cough. Other symptoms of this breathing disorder are chest congestion accompanied by wheezing and this condition is triggered by prolonged exposure to cold air, exercise and playing.
- Common cold, which is prevalent for a longer time is also one of the causative factors for a productive cough. Caused due to a viral infection, other signs of this problem are runny or blocked nose, slight fever etc.
- Some other conditions for a wet cough in children as well as in adults are respiratory tract infections like the flu (or influenza), bronchitis, pneumonia etc. Timely medical intervention will prevent these conditions from becoming intense.
Remedial Measures for Relief
When giving a cough syrup to the child, it is essential to consult a pediatrician, to avoid undesirable effects. Treatment for the wet cough should begin if you doubt that the cough has turned productive. A cough can be cured at home, using some really effective remedies.
- Taking steam is a productive remedy to clear the respiratory tract as well as the nasal passage. Adding a few drops of tea tree oil, eucalyptus oil etc. will prove to be helpful.
- Make sure the child drinks plenty of water and other fluids that will facilitate the drainage of mucus from the throat and chest. A warm broth or apple juice can be given to the child for this purpose.
- Ginger juice is an age-old and effective remedy for curing a productive cough in children as well as adults. Children may be reluctant at having ginger juice due to its pungent taste, so mixing it with honey will work. Honey is also a natural expectorant.
- A concoction of honey and lemon juice in a glass of water is another home remedy to get rid of a wet cough. Sipping it twice or thrice a day will bring down the severity and also help in proper phlegm drainage.
- Teach your child (if he is old enough) to gargle with a warm saline solution. This will help destroy bacterial or viral infection in the throat and respiratory tract.
If your child does not find any respite, even after trying these above-mentioned home remedies for cough or if the cough is persistent, then you may have to consult a pediatrician, who may diagnose the intensity of the cough and prescribe appropriate medication.