5 Ways to Stop a Cough in Its Tracks

Five great remedies to stop a cough due to cold.

Cold and flu season is starting up. Already, it seems like almost everyone I know has a terrible cough, sore throat and runny nose. Including my kids.

My kids seem to divide the symptoms. One has a cough, the other the runny nose. In a few days, they have traded symptoms. This is just par for the course with kids. The runny nose is pretty easy to deal with. Pockets full of Kleenex and little Vick’s vaporub seems to clear it up.

The cough, however is lingering. It’s disruptive to sleep and a constant worry. In Canada, you cannot get cold medicines for children under six. My current cougher is two. After two days of listening to the little bark, I break down and start calling my sisters. Between my 5 sisters, they have a total of 13 children, surely one of them knows how to stop the constant coughing.

My first sister tells me codeine is great to kick back a cough. This is true, as my doctor gave it to me when I was in my eighth month of pregnancy to ease my cough long enough so I could sleep for more than 45 minutes. Unfortunately, my son is only two years old. If children’s cough syrup is too strong for him, I hardly think codeine is appropriate.

My second sister tells me to hold his arms up in the air when he’s coughing. I have an immediate flashback to her children being small and my sister yelling “arms up” whenever they coughed. I also recall how quickly it would work. Raising your arms straight up in the air opens up your air passages and allows you to breath more freely, subsiding the cough.

My third sister recommends honey. Another old wives tale that actually has merit. Honey acts much like cough syrup, coating the throat and soothing irritation. Plus, its sweetness is easy to feed to a toddler. Before I try the honey, I call my family doctor, as I recall honey being dangerous for babies as it can cause botulism in infants. My doctor assures me honey is safe for children over one year of age, and seconds the recommendation of its use.

My fourth sister suggests setting some peppermint tea to boil in a pot on the stove. This will actually benefit both kids, since it will permeate throughout the house, and peppermint will soothe sore throats, plus its a natural decongestant.

My fifth sister suggests sending him to bed with an onion in the toe of his sock. She swears it will draw out any cold symptoms and he will wake up the next morning with no cough. The onion, however, will be black. I’m almost tempted to apply logic to this, since she’s been spouting the virtues of this home remedy for years, but I just can’t figure out how to convince my toddler to sleep with an onion.

Regardless of the home remedy you choose, remember that easing the symptoms does not mean the cold disappears. Take precautions to sanitize surfaces, wash your hands frequently, drink plenty of fluids and get lots of sleep. If your cough worsens or lasts more than a week, visit a doctor or other health care professional to make sure it hasn’t grown into something more serious.   

More from Heather: 

The Dangers of Tampering With Medicine Doses

Save Big Bucks When You Rescue Your Water

Going Back to Work After Baby

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  1. good work

  2. thats very helful information

  3. Highly informative

  4. I’m full of flu right now so this article was just the ticket. Arms going up! Going to research the sleeping with the onion next :-)

  5. Some very interesting remedies. I shall have to try them.


  6. well-written article. good post.

  7. great share :)
    plz comment on my last articles

  8. I planned to give my coughing baby some honey. Now I know it’s dangerous. Thank you very much for sharing this!

  9. Honey and the onion are used here in Cyprus by the villagers. Interesting article.

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