It’s that time of year again when everyone seems to have a cough. And you really don’t want your youngster to get one.
Coughs have very little to do with the cold weather spreading germs and disease, by the way, or your body being a bit cold while outside. Getting poorly during winter is down to everyone being forced indoors for prolonged periods, in close proximity, with lots of other people.
But what can you actually do if (or when) your child gets the dreaded ‘hacking cough’, that terrible affliction, which disrupts sleep and requires endless packets of tissues?
As you well know, prevention is better than cure. But sometimes, however much you wrap your kids up warm and plough fruit and veg into them, there’s no escape.
The NHS has some helpful and simple advice on what to do to fight colds and hacking coughs in children.
First is to remember that there’s usually no reason to see your GP. The NHS website says that you should only book an appointment if your child has had a cough for more than three weeks.
It says you should seek medical advice if:
– they’ve had a cough for more than three weeks
– their cough is particularly severe or is getting worse
– they cough up blood or experience shortness of breath, breathing difficulties or chest pain
– they have any other worrying symptoms, such as unexplained weight loss, a persistent change in your voice, or lumps or swellings in your neck
But with a simple hacking cough, where it’s just about endless snot and a tickly throat, the best plan of action is to wait it out.
And do these things:
– make sure your child gets plenty of rest
– give them lots of water and fluids
– painkillers such as paracetamol and ibuprofen (or Calpol) are recommended. Obviously, make sure you look at the age specifications for dosage
There are some medicines that the NHS doesn’t usually recommend, however. Products that “suppress your cough or stop you bringing up phlegm” aren’t always the answer, as there’s “little evidence to suggest they’re any more effective than simple home remedies and they’re not suitable for everyone”.
Instead, the NHS actually advises you to go back to basics – and old school traditional cures.
“A homemade remedy containing honey and lemon is likely to be just as useful and safer to take,” it says.
“Honey shouldn’t be given to babies under the age of one because of the risk of infant botulism.”
There’s more information on the NHS website.