Living in one of the most polluted countries in the world, we or our kids are certainly not spared from the occasional (or sometimes frequent) coughing that seems to plague their well-being from time to time. Going to the doctor here in Thailand would usually end up with a compulsory prescription of antibiotics and the necessary cough medication. As a parent, I tend to avoid giving unnecessary medication (especially antibiotics) and so I usually let the cough run its course over several days before consulting a doctor.
I do get worried if the coughs are persistent and did not seem to go away after about a week. When Spud was about 2 years old, I remembered that she had a persistent cough for over several weeks. She was hacking away like there’s no tomorrow. The cough medication did not help.
Feeling helpless, I tried every natural ways and means to ease her hacking as I was desperately trying to avoid further medication and hoping that it would go away. 2 visits to the doctor later, she was diagnosed with acute bronchitis – which essentially explained why a regular medication and off-the-shelf home remedy just would not cut it. Such is the country we live in, and I blame it on the pollution surrounding us.
For temporary relief, however, off-the-shelf home remedies could work wonders for both adults and kids. There are a few remedies I often fall back on to soothe the hacking and even though they are not fool-proof or scientifically proven to work, I find that they are able to at least provide some temporary relief to be able to sleep without the constant interruption of being awaken by intrusive coughing:
1. Vicks Vaporub
Rub a generous amount of Vicks to the sole of your feet. Cover it with socks.
For kids under 2 years old, use the kid’s version of Vicks called the BabyRub and put socks on after application. It contains eucalyptus, aloe vera and fragrance of rosemary and lavender. Not so harsh for little babies
Rubbing a little Vicks on the chest also helps
It has been made known that the menthol vapours actually trigger cold receptors in the nose. This tricks the body into thinking that one is breathing easier, amplifying the sensation that makes one feel calmer.
2. Honey water
Mix half to 1 teaspoon of honey into a glass of warm water. Stir well.
Do not give honey to babies under 1 year old as honey can contain spores of a bacterium called Clostridium botulinum. It can germinate in a baby’s immature digestive system, causing a rare, but potentially fatal illness called Infant Botulism
3. Honey Lemon Juice
As above, just squeeze in a couple of lemon slices
4. Ginger in warm water
Crush and boil about half an inch of fresh ginger in water
Let it cool and drink it warm
Add in tea bag if you wish to make ginger tea (I usually do this for adults only remedy)
5. Tamarind Juice
Immerse about 1 inch of tamarind paste in warm water. Let it seep for 5-10 minutes before consuming it
Alternatively, use Assam Keping (Tamarind Peel) and do the same
I find this soothing to the throat and decreases the irritability scratchy feeling to your throat when you are having cough intermittently.
I also found a few other interesting remedies which I haven’t tried for the specific reason of easing that cough away yet and I like the sound of these:
Thyme & Oregano. Boil a teaspoon of either herb in water and strain. For extra soothing power, add honey. (I didn’t know this before and I’ll be sure to remember to give it a go for the next coughing bouts in the houseold!)
Licorice root – who would have thought!
The list of natural remedies for coughs be found here
If all else fails, there’s Codine. But you would need a prescription for it.
(I still have my stash of ropect from my last acute bronchitis attack. It really is one of the best medication that works really well with coughs. In case you are wondering, yes, I take them sparingly)