Pediatrix Primary and Urgent Care - Brookhollow and Channelview locations are now open! Reserve your spot today.

Home / Blog / When to Use Cough Medicine

When to Use Cough Medicine

NightLight · April 11, 2016

How and If You Should Use Cough Medicine

The American Academy of Pediatrics does not recommend cough medications for children under six years of age. Children over one year of age can take honey or age appropriate honey based preparations for their cough.

REMEMBER: cough is your body’s mechanism for clearing and keeping clear your child’s airway. As a result suppression of your child’s cough may be detrimental to their health.

Have you noticed how many medicines treat a cough? That aisle of the drug store can be overwhelming. Let’s break it down.

There are four types of medicines you might use to treat your child’s cough:

  1. Cough suppressants block the cough reflex.
  2. Cough expectorants helps clear phlegm by encouraging coughing.
  3. Decongestants relieve nasal congestion, which may help relieve a cough.
  4. Antihistamines may help if your child’s cough is a symptom of allergies.

Once you have selected the right type of medicine, follow these rules:

  • Do not give multiple kinds of cough medicine. Choose the appropriate one for your child’s cough and stick with it.
  • Only use children’s medicine for children. Do not give them adult cough medicine.
  • Check with your pediatrician before giving cough medicine.
  • If your child is on any other medications, whether prescription or over-the-counter, do not give your child cough medications before checking with your pediatrician to make sure their medications can be combined.
  • Follow the instructions on the box precisely. Stick to the proper dose for your child’s age and weight, and keep track of the correct time for doses. If your pediatrician has given the ok for your child to take a cough medication, it is generally best to give as infrequently as possible for the safety and comfort of your child (i.e. at bedtime only).

Hopefully your little one will return to good health quickly. If the cough persists for a few days, your child has wheezing, difficulty breathing or high or persistent fever go see the pediatrician.

Remember to be attentive with cough medicines. They may seem like a minor thing, but they are still medicines and must be used cautiously.