Coughing is a healthy reflex that helps clear the airways. A severe cough or one that lasts more than a week requires a medical checkup. But many coughs are caused by a that just needs to run its course.
How Do I Handle a Cough?
If your child develops a "barky" or "croupy" cough, sit in a steamy bathroom together for about 20 minutes.
Offer plenty of fluids (breast milk or formula for babies; cool water and juice for older kids). Avoid carbonated or citrus drinks that may irritate a raw throat.
Run a cool-mist humidifier in your child's bedroom.
Use saline (saltwater) nose drops to relieve congestion.
Never give cough drops (a choking hazard) to young kids or cough or cold medicine to kids under 6 years of age.
Get Medical Care if Your Child:
has severe cough spasms or attacks, wheezing, or stridor (a high-pitched sound when breathing in)
has a cough that lasts 3 weeks, gets worse, happens the same time every year, or seems caused by something specific (such as pollen, dust, pets, etc.)