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When Should You Use Cough Medicine For Kids?

Updated: Jul 11, 2023

Home > Blog > When Should You Use Cough Medicine For Kids?

Flu season is around the corner and can be a real nightmare for both parents and kids. The symptoms of flu are extremely uncomfortable. They can last for around two weeks and can make everything in your daily routine difficult. From getting up in the morning, eating and even sleeping, everything must be put on hold. Although many parents may want to look for a quick fix such as flu medicine for kids, it may not always be the best option. The reality is, there is no quick fix for the flu. You and your children simply have to wait it out and take on the systems as they come. Although cough medicine for kids can sometimes help to alleviate several symptoms, it’s important to limit its use when possible, only using it if your child is in extreme pain and discomfort.

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Are Over-The-Counter Medicines The Best Option?

Although over-the-counter medicines can help adults and teenagers, they may not always be the best option- especially when it comes to younger children. In general, they are not recommended and should not be used for children 4 2 and under. For children between the ages of 2 to 6, they should only have what the doctor has recommended. If you cannot get access to a doctor,

then your best option is to follow the guidance on the packaging. After the age of 6, it’s crucial that you follow the guidance on the packaging, making sure you’re extremely careful with the dosage you’re using. The wrong dosage can often do more harm than good and in severe situations may even result in a trip to the hospital.

One of the best treatments for colds and flu are home remedies. They can usually be used by children of all age groups, which makes them an ideal option, especially if the whole home has the flu. Often flu medicine for kids will have little to no impact and may also bring with it several side effects. So what are your alternatives?

Hot Foods

A warm soup or cup of tea is often a great way to soothe the symptoms of flu. They can help your child feel better and have no side effects. They will also help you or your little one to keep food and water down, which will help to speed up the process of recovery.

Saline Nasal Spray

Common signs of the flu are a running or stuffy nose as well as mucus. Rather than sitting there sniffling all day (which can be very annoying), a saline nasal spray combined with frequent blowing can help to reduce these symptoms. To have an even greater impact, you can rub a petroleum jelly on the nose area too which will help to reduce soreness and irritation. You may also choose to use a cool mist vaporizer to keep the mucus moving and avoid congestion.


If your child is over the age of 1, then a teaspoon or two of honey is a great home remedy. It coats and soothes the throat to reduce coughing and irritation. This can be mixed with lemon juice or in a warm herbal tea to make consumption easier.

Mentholated Rub

For young children 2 years and above, a mentholated rub can be applied to the front of the neck and chest to help children sleep. They work differently to cough medicine for kids as the medication enters the air through bodily heat. This helps to soothe a cough. Make sure that the medicine is hidden away from your child, as direct consumption could be damaging.


The most simple and affordable treatment available to all individuals with flu is water. Keeping the body hydrated is crucial when it comes to recovering from the flu. For babies between 3 months to 1 year, 5 to 15 mL of warm water should be consumed at least 4 times a day. As an adult, make sure you stay hydrated. The more water you drink the quicker you can begin flushing the virus out of your system.

Be Patient With Recovery

When it comes to the flu recovery process, patience is key. In general, the first 3 to 5 days will be the worst. Sleepless nights, continuously coughing and many tears are perfectly normal. In general, recovery may take around 1 week, However , to play safe , if the flu & cough does not improve in 3 days it is good to see a doctor to ensure no serious illness like a chest infection is developing . Isn’t it good to nip the problem in the bud?

Fever is another symptom that you may need to tackle during this process. If your child has a low fever, this is nothing to worry about. Their body is doing what it should and is fighting the virus naturally. Nonetheless, fever can make it very difficult for your child to sleep. In this situation you can consider using ibuprofen, making sure that you follow the instructions to the word.

When Should You Worry

As a whole, worrying is not going to help the situation. However, in certain circumstances you may need to consider calling a doctor. If your child is struggling to breathe, swallow or their cough is inducing vomiting, calling a doctor for reassurance is a good option. If the severe symptoms last for more than 3 days, you may also want to call a doctor for advice. Additionally, high fevers (Ear temperature 38 degree Celsius or higher) would suggest that a more serious infection may be occurring. If this happens, you should have your child seen by a doctor as soon as possible. Small baby may not be able to mount a fever response well even if he is very sick. Hence, absence of fever in this group does not mean he is well. Look out more for lethargy, poor appetite or less responsiveness in this group.



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