How to treat coughing children. Current is the busiest time for the paediatrics, because Emergency Departments and Children’s Units are seeing hundreds of children a day with respiratory symptoms including coughing, colds, & temperatures etc.
So the use of antibiotics is also increasing with the increase in such kind of situations. But here is a guideline you can take as the best way to treat the situation.
Keep in mind that coughs and colds in children are common, and 9 times out of 10 are caused by a self-limiting viral infection, so they do not need antibiotics. Because they will get better with rest, and plenty of fluids. You can also give them paracetamol and/or ibuprofen.
Most of the parents find the symptom of cough troublesome, particularly as it could persist for several weeks even after the infection has gone, that’s why they worry that it is damaging their child in one way or the other.
What is the more of an annoyance is the disturbance caused by cough while kids are sleeping and that’s the actual harm of cough not any other.
However, being frustrated, parents like to reach for the over the counter (OTC) cough syrups that are available widely but there is a lot of conflicting advice about their use, which is understandably cobfusing for the parents.
Many of the OTC cough and cold medicines contain active ingredients like nasal decongestants, antihistamines and “cough suppressors”, that can in large doses have adverse effects or can be toxic if consumed in large quantities. They are damaging particularly to the under 6s who are much more susceptible. These syrups may also contain ingredients such as paracetamol, and parents may unintentionally find themselves overdosing their kids with cough medicine and paracetamol.
Also, as with any other medicine, there remains a potential risk that any one of the ingredients could cause an allergic reaction or can harm in an other way.
As for the older children, the Medicines & Healthcare product Regulatory Agency highlights that codeine-containing cough medicines are contraindicated in under eighteen year old as codeine can exacerbate respiratory conditions in the teenagers.
The bottom line is that there is absolutely no evidence that cough medicines work as there has been a very little research regarding to their use, and potentially they could do the child more harm than good.
Codeine-containing medicines often also contain a lot of sugar, which is also not good for kids’ overall health.
So, i would recommend to stick to old fashioned honey and lemon, rest, lots of fluids & paracetamol and/or ibuprofen as per the pack instructions. If symptoms of cough persist beyond a few days or there are some other worrying signs, ensure a chat to your GP or pharmacist.