A dry cough in a child at night can turn a restful sleep for mom and dad into a real nightmare. There are several reasons for this phenomenon: from simple and inoffensive coughs to serious health problems. That is why it is very important to learn to distinguish between the main symptoms of cough and be able to correct them correctly.
We find out the nature of cough with a pediatrician
An irritable and prolonged cough is nothing more than the body's defense mechanism that works when bacteria, viruses, dust and allergens try to sneak into the airways. In this regard, cough can be considered as the most effective defense mechanism of the respiratory system.
It may happen that your baby coughs during sleep and throughout the night. This phenomenon is explained by the fact that at this time of day the receptors and nerve endings become more sensitive to possible infections or stimuli. However, be careful if coughing occurs only at certain times of night:
- From 21 to 1 am: at this time, dry cough without a child's temperature, as a rule, causes insufficient air moistening in the room, especially in the winter period. If the baby has a fever a few hours before sleep, and the cough only became an additional symptom, then, most likely, he has a viral infection.
- From one o'clock in the morning to 6 in the morning: a cough that occurs at this time of day is considered a symptom of laryngitis. It has a metallic echo and often resembles a dog barking. In the case of laryngospasm, the child may feel a lack of air, so it is important for parents to help the kid relax muscles.
- From 6 to 9 in the morning: if the cough occurs when the child wakes up, then this may be due to nocturnal secretions accumulated in the throat. As a rule, the accumulation of mucus can cause anything: from a banal infection to sinusitis. In the latter case, you need to contact your pediatrician for targeted therapy.
Other symptoms that occur with nighttime cough should be discussed in more detail with your doctor, including fever, whistling sounds, hemoptysis, chest pain, lethargy, and drowsiness. Any cough that does not stop for several hours in a baby under the age of 4 months or more than 3 weeks in an adult child must be evaluated by a doctor.
How to solve the problem of children's night cough medically?
There are many options than to treat dry cough that appears at night in a child. Sometimes you may only need homemade preventive methods, while some types of cough will need medical help. To establish the true cause and take the right measures, consult your pediatrician and complete a full medical examination with your child.
There are such methods of therapy:
- Sometimes your pediatrician may suggest cough reflex weakening medications. This is especially true in cases where it is necessary to relieve the symptoms and ensure a good sleep for the child. However, such products are not recommended for children under the age of 4 years.
- In cases where children's cough is caused by asthma, the doctor may recommend using a nebulizer as a treatment. The device helps to break the drug from the liquid state into small molecules, which contributes to its accelerated delivery to the respiratory tract and bronchi. These remedies are very effective for small children.
- If the cause of dry cough was an allergy, you must install the source of the allergen and completely get rid of it. Frequent change of bed linen and proper nutrition can be combined with antihistamines.
Stronger medications can only be used when the cough is very intense and after consulting a pediatrician. In fact, with respect to some potent drugs, the necessary research is simply lacking to guarantee the safety and effectiveness of their use by children, for example:
- Nasal drops are not recommended for children under 12 years of age, as they have a vasoconstrictive effect and can cause serious adverse reactions.
- As for mucolytic agents, produced in the form of syrups, aerosol drops or solutions, it makes sense to use them when the cough implies a chronic disease.
- Some sedatives are contraindicated in children under 6 years of age, as they cause drowsiness and allergic reactions.
- Antibiotics are needed only in cases where a bacterial infection is found.
- In the case of children's cough, it is better to avoid cortisone in the form of sprays or aerosol, because in fact these tools are ineffective.
In any case, it is best to give the child only those drugs prescribed by the pediatrician, and in strictly prescribed doses.
Home remedies for cough
There are a number of preventive measures, how to stop a child’s cough at night with home remedies:
- Give your child a lot of drinking, especially in cases of productive wet cough. A sufficient amount of fluids, especially hot drinks, helps to relieve sputum faster and has a calming effect on irritated throat.
- Ventilate the area regularly to ensure clean and fresh air.
- Moisten the air in the room with a cold or hot humidifier, or just hang out a wet cloth.
- To overcome a dry cough can our grandmothers' classic medicine - a cup of milk with honey before bedtime.
- Thyme ointment has soothing and softening properties. Just spread the baby's chest and feet.
- Relaxing your muscles and soothe your irritated throat will help and a hot bath before bed.
Having a night cough in a child is a concern for parents. However, it is not necessary to look for the cause in any serious diseases. If the cough is not accompanied by fever, vomiting and passes on its own within a few days, most likely there is no reason for panic. But to consult with the pediatrician in any case will not be superfluous. Health to you and your children!