Treatment options for kids’ coughs

There’s nothing worse than listening to your child cough. Whether it’s a dry raspy cough, or that chesty cough, we can feel really helpless when our little ones are under the weather and coughing day and night. And it affects the whole family too – kids with coughs need extra love and care from their parents or carers, who are still trying to juggle the rest of their daily load after an interrupted night’s sleep! So let’s try to understand what can cause kids’ coughs and how we can help them feel better. 

First of all – coughing is the body’s natural protective reflex to help keep your kids’ airways clear from things that can cause irritation. So the occasional cough is normal. But if your child develops a cough, it’s most likely that they’ve picked up a respiratory tract infection such as the common cold. And when we talk about the common cold, we really do mean common! Did you know that kids typically bring home these annoying colds 6 to 10 times every year? Some other culprits to look out for when it comes to children’s coughs are allergies, or exposure to things that can irritate the airways such as smoke or dust in the air.

So what can we do to help relieve coughing when our kids get sick? Let’s start with what not to do. Antibiotics do not help with the common cold, so are not needed for these coughs. Antibiotics may be useful for treating some coughs that are caused by a bacterial infection, but you should always talk to your child’s doctor for appropriate advice in these situations. It’s also really important to know that cough medicines that contain certain ingredients may not be suitable for children under 12 years of age. Dry cough suppressants and chesty cough mucolytics that may be okay for adults to use should never be given to children under 6 years of age and should only be given to children aged 6 to 11 years under the advice of a doctor, pharmacist, or nurse practitioner.

But the good news for busy parents or carers like you? DURO-TUSS® has a range of cough medicines just for children that have been specially formulated with natural active  ingredients to help switch off their cough. And for extra peace of mind? These medicines contain natural flavours, and are free from colour, lactose and gluten.

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  • DURO-TUSS Children’s Cough Liquid 200mL: Contains Ivy Leaf (Hedera helix) to help relieve and soothe coughs and chest congestion. Suitable for children 2 years and older. Available in pleasant tasting strawberry or orange flavour. 
  • DURO-TUSS Children’s Cough Liquid Night-Time 200mL: Contains Ivy Leaf to relieve and soothe coughs and chest congestion and Chamomile, traditionally used in Western herbal medicine to promote sleep quality.. Suitable for children 3 years and older.
  • DURO-TUSS Children’s Cough, Cold & Flu + Immune Support Liquid 200mL: Contains Elderflower (Sambucus nigra), traditionally used in Western herbal medicine to help relieve the symptoms of a cold and flu, Marshmallow (Althaea officinalis), traditionally used in Western herbal medicine to soothe an irritated throat and associated dry cough, and Zinc to support a healthy immune system. Suitable for children 3 years and older.

Always read the label. Follow the directions for use. If symptoms persist, talk to your health professional.

When to see a doctor

So if your child has a dry or chesty cough caused by a common cold, it’s reassuring to know that their symptoms should get better on their own in about 7 to 10 days and that most kids should be completely cough-free within 3 weeks.

But it is time to seek medical advice if your child:

  • Has a fever
  • Experiences difficulty breathing or shortness of breath
  • Appears lethargic and unwell
  • Coughs up blood or green/yellow mucus
  • Develops a cough after choking on food or other object
  • Coughs so hard they vomit
  • Does not improve after 2 weeks
  • Experiences any other symptoms that worry you

Remember, if you or your family have cold & flu symptoms, you should get tested and follow health advice.

Other ways to help relieve coughs in children

Looking for some home remedies to help relieve your child’s cough? Keep your child hydrated with water, and consider warm fluids such as warm water and honey or thin soup to help soothe airway irritation that makes them cough. For children over 12 months of age, try a teaspoon of honey just before bed to help relieve their cough. You could also consider having your little one sit in a steamy bathroom, or using a humidifier in their bedroom – the moisture in the air can help soothe their airways and loosen any mucus.

Children’s cough FAQs

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Try DURO-TUSS Children’s Cough Liquid with Ivy Leaf to help soothe coughs and clear chest congestion in children from 2 years of age.

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If your child has trouble breathing or any other worrying symptoms, you should see your child’s doctor. It is time to seek medical advice if your child:

  • Has a fever
  • Experiences difficulty breathing or shortness of breath
  • Appears lethargic and unwell
  • Coughs up blood or green/yellow mucus
  • Develops a cough after choking on food or other object
  • Coughs so hard they vomit
  • Does not improve after 2 weeks
  • Experiences any other symptoms that worry you
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Cough medicines that contain natural active ingredients, such as DURO-TUSS Children’s Cough Liquid with ivy leaf, can help relieve your child’s cough.

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Give your child plenty of water and warm fluids to help soothe their airways and consider a steamy bathroom or humidifier to help moisten their airways and thin any mucus.

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Try a teaspoon of honey just before bed – this can help soothe airway irritation to help relieve their cough during the night.

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Medicines that contain natural active ingredients such as Ivy Leaf, Elderflower, and Marshmallow can help relieve children’s coughs. Elderflower has been traditionally used in Western herbal medicine to help relieve the symptoms of a cold and flu and Marshmallow has been traditionally used in Western herbal medicine to soothe an irritated throat and dry cough. Talk to your doctor or pharmacist about the most suitable treatment for your child.