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Cough: Calming a Child's Nighttime Hack

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Q. Our family has had several bouts of respiratory infections this fall. Our 5-year-old daughter is still coughing through the night and keeping everyone awake.

We tried over-the-counter cough remedies but they didn't make much difference. My wife worries they might not be safe. Do you have some home remedies you can send us?

A. You have reason to be cautious. The FDA has recommended against OTC cold remedies for infants and toddlers and is still assessing their safety and effectiveness for older children.

We are sending you our Guide to Colds, Coughs & the Flu with details about cough remedies such as thyme tea, ginger tea, honey, elderberry and grape juice. Even chocolate chips may have cough calming power.

Vicks VapoRub on the soles of the feet may also ease a child's nighttime cough. It may sound strange to put Vicks on the feet rather than the chest (add socks to protect the sheets), but hundreds of people have told us this works. Here's one story from Steve:

"We tried this remedy last night after my wife's mom read about it in the Dallas Morning News. We decided it couldn't hurt to try, since Mucinex, Symbicort and various other methods had failed to control my cold-induced post nasal drip-cough. Imagine our surprise when it worked almost immediately, allowing us both to get the first good night's sleep in three days. We're going to buy Vicks in the extra-large size."


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8 Comments

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I can understand the listeners frustration, as my son and my wife suffer from these types of Post nasal drip/cough frequently through the fall and winter time, we tried Vicks on the soles of the feet one time, and now we should own Vicks stock. It works wonders. Another thing that works well for our family, is a tbsp of locally produced honey...soothes the most savage of coughs...without the side effects of systemic chemicals..Hope this helps!

This has been recommended by the medical jn Canada sometime ago. Any ointment with methyl salicilate can work :Tiger balm, & white flower {chinese} and also put socks on {faster results}

Anyone know something that a 3 year old can use to prevent car sick-ness? My granddaughter inherited that from me but Dramamine is out for kids today.

Many problems start when the forced air furnace is turned on for the cold weather. Make sure you are not in the airstream from the vent. I take the room vent off and put filter material in and change furnace filter every month. Even though the filter isn't that dirty it builds up with dust mites which is a big reason people have sinus trouble in winter. I have positioned chairs with a towel in front of the vent to keep the airflow from blowing on my kids. It really helped. Instead of putting chemicals in our children find out why they are having trouble.

My daughter traveled a lot with band, cross country, etc. Finally after many doses of Bonine, Dramamine, etc., we tried Sea Bands. They are elastic bands with a small pearl bud that you slide onto the wrist. They really work well, are reusable. Supposedly they activate an accupressure point that quiets the car sickness site.

You can make her ginger suckers. Find a rock candy recipe, but add ginger to it. Pour hot candy over a sucker stick or popsicle stick. For older children, you could just make the candy, but young ones need the sucker so they don't choke.

My two year old used to cough all night too. We tried many remedies including prescriptions but they did not work. Our solution was an air purifier for the bedroom. That worked like magic.
Hope this helps

I had the flu last November followed by persistent cough still have the cough in August. Am exhausted. Have this persistent nasal drip that won't go away even with antihistamines. The only thing that has helped is Tramadol 50 mg at night after which I am good for 24 hours. I don't want to keep taking it because I may get addicted. It also gives me insomnia. I am DESPERATE. For Help.

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