Cough in an infant: causes, prevention and treatment

A cough in an infant always causes panic among parents. It is not clear what medications to give and whether it is possible to do procedures to get rid of bronchospasm. Infancy is characterized by some features - accumulation of saliva in the throat area and accumulation of mucus due to the lying position.

In infants, bronchospasm is rare. In 80% of cases, these are physiological characteristics, but we should never forget about inflammatory processes, for which treatment is prescribed in a hospital setting.

Severe cough in infants: types

The body's protective reflexes often indicate that a person has become infected with a virus or bacteria. In infants, cough can be repeated up to ten times during the day. This is a physiological norm; spasm occurs due to the horizontal position of the baby.

A baby's cough can be of the following types:

  1. Dry bronchospasm - the cause of such attacks can be ARVI. It becomes difficult for the baby to breathe. Mucus with microbes actively accumulates in the lungs. If measures are not taken, bronchitis or pneumonia may develop.
  2. Fruitful cough in an infant - attacks are characterized by the release of mucous formations. Clear sputum indicates that bronchospasm is due to a mild cold or allergy. Purulent formations, green mucus or splashes of blood are a reason to immediately contact an ambulance. The child requires strong therapy in a hospital.

The baby cannot independently expectorate formations coming out of the respiratory system. Accumulation of phlegm in the throat or lungs is a reason for panic. It is better for caring parents to treat their baby under the supervision of a pediatrician.

Pneumonia is not always accompanied by high fever. If a baby’s cough without fever lasts for more than 25 days, then you should go to the clinic and insist on ordering an X-ray of the lungs.

Types of cough

The impact of negative factors on the sensitive receptors of the respiratory system provokes a sharp release of air from the lungs. Depending on the cause of the irritation, a dry or wet (productive) cough may be observed. In the first case, there is no secretion of pathological mucus, and the feeling of discomfort in the respiratory tract does not go away even after an attack. In addition, during a dry cough, breathing becomes difficult, and chest pain often occurs.

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This condition in infants mainly indicates inflammation of the nasopharynx. Associated symptoms may be absent or manifested by redness of the eyes, congestion of the upper respiratory tract, and fever. Upon examination, redness of the throat and enlarged tonsils are revealed. Based on these symptoms, the doctor makes one of the following diagnoses:

  • rhinitis (runny nose);
  • tonsillitis (tonsillitis);
  • pharyngitis;
  • otitis media (ear inflammation);
  • sinusitis (damage to the maxillary sinus);
  • sinusitis (inflammation of the sinuses);
  • laryngitis;
  • nasopharyngitis (inflammation of the nasopharynx).

Dry spasmodic cough in children of the first year of life occurs due to the formation of thick sputum. The pathological secretion envelops the walls of the bronchi, unable to get out. In this situation, the accompanying symptoms of the disease are manifested by heavy breathing and wheezing. Cough with difficulty producing sputum occurs due to:

  • bronchitis;
  • pneumonia;
  • chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD);
  • tracheitis;
  • lung abscess (formation of cavities in the lung, accompanied by tissue necrosis);
  • bronchial asthma;
  • pleural empyema (purulent inflammation of the organ).

A productive cough is accompanied by the production of liquid sputum. Due to physiological characteristics, children of the first year of life are not able to perform a reflex clearing of the respiratory tract from the formed mucus in full. The accumulation of pathological secretions in the bronchi can cause the development of the following serious complications:

  • bronchiolitis (inflammation and blockage of bronchioles);
  • sarcoidosis (benign tumor);
  • bronchitis.

How to treat a cough in a baby

What can you give to a baby under one year old if he is suffering from bronchospasm? This question haunts all parents who watch in horror as their baby “suffocates” from constant attacks. There is no quick cure for the disease. It is necessary to find out the cause of the spasm and correctly prescribe treatment.

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How and with what to treat a simple cough in a child: effective methods

Infants are most often admitted to the hospital. Under the supervision of a doctor, all medications are given, and injections are given if necessary. A baby who has a cough without fever is not always a good sign. In half of the cases, the symptom indicates severe inflammation of the respiratory system.

Infants are prescribed complex therapy, which consists of taking the following medications:

  1. Antipyretic syrups - they are prescribed if, during bronchospasm, the temperature rises above 38.5 degrees Celsius. One-year-old babies are given medications based on paracetamol or ibuprofen.
  2. Antiviral suppositories are most often Viferon. The drug has no contraindications and is well suited for patients under one year of age. The drug is prescribed if the baby has inflammation that has developed against the background of a viral infection.
  3. Antibiotic – they try not to prescribe it to children, but sometimes antibiotic therapy cannot be avoided. These drugs are preferably given from 2 years of age in the form of syrup; younger patients are prescribed nasal drops.
  4. Rinsing the nasal passages with special solutions - the procedure is prescribed if a small patient has snot and cough. Washing is done using special devices. If parents cannot do the procedure, then it is better to use a regular bulb to suck out snot.
  5. Decoctions and tinctures are prescribed when a cough is detected in infants. Natural components do not cause negative reactions, but can cause allergies. This should be taken into account by parents who prefer traditional medicine.

Temperature within normal limits and discharge of snot from the nose during coughing indicate ENT diseases. Rhinitis, pharyngitis and laryngitis often occur in children under one year of age.

The second reason

The second situation when a child under one year old may have a cough is inhalation of a small foreign body. The baby is interested in everything and he puts everything in his mouth, tries to lick it, put it in his nose.

If the object that the child is examining is very small, he can easily inhale it. And this object gets into the respiratory tract, where it will irritate the bronchial mucosa and cause inflammation.

And then the child will have a constant, unproductive cough, without a rise in temperature, without any other signs of the disease. It’s just that, against the background of complete health, the child suddenly starts coughing. Parents can often name exactly not only the day, but also the hour and even minute of the onset of this cough. Of course, this situation requires examination and treatment by a doctor.

What else do they give one-year-old children for bronchospasm?

Infants can only be given cough drops or syrups. Drugs in tablet form are contraindicated in small children. Cough in infants is treated with the following medications:

  • mucolytic - they can be given if the sputum is too thick and does not come out of the lower respiratory tract. Most often, the following drugs can be found in a pediatrician's prescription: Ambrobene, Bromhexine, Mucosol or Lazolvan;
  • antitussives - they need to treat dry cough. In infants, whooping cough often occurs, which is characterized by prolonged attacks. Children under one year of age are prescribed Sinekod or Panatus;
  • Expectorants are effective when a wet cough in an infant is accompanied by the formation of too thick mucus. The drugs consist of natural extracts that do not have a negative effect on the patient’s organs. Such medications include Doctor Mom, Prospan and Gedelix.

Expectorant and antitussive syrups are prohibited from being combined. Suppression of spasm with simultaneous production of sputum in copious amounts is a prerequisite for the appearance of pneumonia.

The most effective remedies for treating dry and wet cough in children under one year of age

Cough is a reflex reaction of the body to the action of an irritant. With the help of this symptom, the airways are cleansed. It can appear in a person at any age. Newborns and infants are no exception.

Is it possible to give Mukaltin tablets to children under one year of age?

The tablets are intended for adults and older children. However, pediatricians, despite the restriction in the instructions for up to a year, consider it possible to give some tablets based on extracts of medicinal herbs to babies earlier.

Such tablets include “Mukaltin”, which contains marshmallow extract. The daily dose for a child under one year of age should not exceed two tablets. At one time, half a tablet is given, previously dissolved in a tablespoon of boiled water.

What can you give to children from two months to a year for dry cough?


Drops "Codelac NEO" (Russia). Active ingredient: butamirate. For children from two months, 10 drops 4 times a day.


  • drops "Panatus" (Slovenia);
  • drops "Sinekod" (Switzerland).

Stoptussin drops (Czech Republic, Israel). Active ingredient: sodium butamirate in combination with guaifenesin. Children with a body weight of less than 7 kg are given 8 drops 3-4 times a day orally, with a body weight of 7-12 kg, 9 drops 3-4 times a day orally.

Means for converting a dry cough into a wet one

Bromhexine syrup 4 mg/5 ml (Russia) . Active ingredient: bromhexine. Children under 2 years of age: 2 mg (2.5 ml) 3 times a day.

Analogs: Bromhexine 4 Berlin-Chemie solution (Germany).

Solution for oral administration and inhalation "Ambrobene" 7.5 mg/ml (Germany, Israel). The active ingredient is ambroxol. For newborns from the first days to two years, take 1 ml orally three times a day. Children under two years of age: for inhalation, 1 ml of solution mixed with saline according to the instructions, once or twice a day.

Analogues: oral solution "Bronchoxol" 7.5 mg/ml (Russia).

Ambrobene syrup 15 mg/5 ml (Germany, Israel). The active ingredient is ambroxol. For newborns from the first days to 2 years, 2.5 ml twice a day (15 mg ambroxol per day) after meals.


  • syrup "Bronchoxol" 3 mg/ml (Russia);
  • Lazolvan syrup 15 mg/5 ml (Germany, Spain);
  • Flavamed syrup 15 mg/5 ml (Germany);
  • syrup "Halixol" 30 mg/10 ml (Hungary).

Syrup "Mukosol" 250 mg/5 g (Israel). The active ingredient is carbocisteine. The normal daily dose of carbocysteine ​​for children is considered to be 20 mg/kg body weight, distributed 2-3 times. Up to 3 years of age, the dose is determined by the doctor depending on body weight.

Granules for the preparation of ACC syrup 100 mg (Germany). The active ingredient is acetylcysteine. Allowed from 10 days of age under medical supervision. Children under two years of age are allowed to take no more than one to one and a half sachets (100-150 mg) in one day, divided into 2-3 doses.

Important! Taking mucolytics is not recommended before night or daytime sleep to avoid sputum stagnation.

What can you give to a child from two months to a year for a wet cough?


  1. Syrup "Bronchipret" 50 ml (Germany). Ingredients: thyme herb extract, ivy herb extract. Children from 3 months to 12 months: 10-16 drops 3 times a day.
  2. Syrup “Licorice Root” (Russia). Based on licorice root extract. At the age of two years, 1-2 drops three times a day.
  3. Dry cough medicine for children (Russia). Based on dry plant extracts. Dissolve the contents of the package in 1 tbsp. l. boiled water. Give 15-20 drops to children under one year of age.
  4. Ammonia-anise drops (Russia). Active ingredients: anise oil, ammonia solution. Children under one year old: 1-2 drops three to four times a day.
  5. Syrup "Bronchicum S" (Germany). Based on thyme herb extract. Dosage from 6 months to 12 years - 1/2 teaspoon (2.5 ml) 2 times a day.
  6. Syrup "Prospan" (Germany). Based on ivy leaf extract. Approved for use by infants from birth. 2.5 ml of syrup twice a day is recommended.

Important! Children under two years of age should take medications in the form of syrups and cough drops under the strict supervision of a doctor. The list of drugs is provided for informational purposes. You cannot prescribe medications to newborns yourself, since some children are allergic to the components of syrups.

Cough in a child - advice from a pediatrician to parents

What can you give a month old baby for a cough?

As a rule, in newborns this symptom is associated with inflammatory disease of the respiratory tract. In such cases, medications for treatment are prescribed exclusively by a doctor.

When prescribing mucolytic drugs, the severity of the cough reflex is taken into account, since in premature infants and those with neurological disorders, their use can cause stagnation of sputum in the bronchi and aggravate the course of the disease.

Some therapists recommend giving Stodal homeopathic syrup, which has no age restrictions. However, as practice shows, the effect of its use is questionable.

Like all homeopathic remedies, this syrup has a very low concentration of active ingredients and is able to “treat” only due to the “placebo” effect, which is simply not yet possible at such an early age.

What to do from the first days of a cough in a baby

If a one-year-old child develops a cough that is not caused by physiology, you should immediately call a doctor. Self-prescribing medications is prohibited. What can a mother do in the first days of a child’s cough?

  • Monitor the air temperature in the room. It should not be higher than +22C. It is necessary to regularly ventilate the apartment. If the symptom is not accompanied by fever, you can take a walk outside.
  • Humidify the indoor air using a humidifier with a hygrometer. Control the humidity level; it should be between 40 – 70%.
  • It is enough to give the child something to drink. Breast milk, tea, compote, water will do.
  • Change the position of the baby in the crib more often, or carry him in your arms.
  • A 6-month-old infant who has a cough with difficult sputum is recommended to have a drainage massage. The doctor will show you how to do the exercises.
  • You can rub your baby's chest and feet with animal fat (for example, badger fat). Ointments containing camphor and menthol are prohibited for children under 2 years of age.

What can you give your child if he has a severe cough?

  • It is necessary to determine the cause (bronchitis, pneumonia, laryngotracheitis).
  • Indicate the type (wet, dry, with temperature).
  • Increase the volume of fluid consumed.
  • Use antitussive drugs in drops “Panatus”, “Sinekod” (strictly as prescribed by a doctor) for a severe dry cough. Prescribed from 2 months of age, 10 drops - 2 r. per day.
  • For a wet, strong cough, expectorants and mucolytic drugs are used (Lazolvan, Ambroxol, Ambrobene, Thermopsis, Flavamed). Age restrictions and recommended doses are described above.
  • The chest is rubbed with warming substances (badger fat).

The cough itself is not an indication for antibiotic therapy. If it is accompanied by an increase in temperature, the bacterial nature of the disease is assumed. In such cases, the doctor prescribes antibiotics.

Infants are prescribed injectable antibiotics, as well as drugs in the form of a suspension. Most antibiotic suspensions are contraindicated in children under 6 months of age. Amoxacillin, Amoxiclav, and Sumamed are considered relatively safe. The dosage is prescribed depending on the complexity of the infectious disease and the child’s weight.

Important! Tetracycline antibiotics are strictly prohibited for young children. They have a destructive effect on tooth enamel; children’s teeth initially grow weak.

How to treat a cough in an infant

At home, bronchospasm can be treated if the pediatrician does not hear anything suspicious while listening to the lungs. The treatment of a dry cough differs from the treatment of a productive attack. In 60% of cases, moms and dads make mistakes in the diagnosis. Therefore, it is important to contact a specialist who will conduct a thorough examination and prescribe tests if necessary.

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How to treat and what procedures to choose for a dry cough in a child

You can cure a cough with the pharmaceutical medications mentioned above. The drugs are prescribed in strict dosages. For example, dry cough syrup should be diluted to a risk and given in strictly measured spoons. It is impossible to cure severe inflammation with folk remedies - decoctions and rubbing. Therefore, it is important to come to an appointment with a doctor who will tell you for sure whether a baby has a dry cough and a fruitful attack.

What to do in combination with traditional treatment? Pediatricians recommend paying attention to some procedures left over from grandmothers.

How to treat a cough in an infant by rubbing

Folk remedies are best used in combination with the recommendations of a pediatrician. Rubbing is an effective procedure that can only be done in the absence of fever. A cough with wheezing will go away if you use the following for rubbing:

  1. Badger, bear or interior fat - these products have a mild warming effect. It is applied to the baby's chest, avoiding the heart area. After rubbing, the child is dressed in warm pajamas. Do not allow overheating - this will worsen the situation.
  2. Pulmex baby – it contains eucalyptus and rosemary oils. The creamy drug is applied to the chest during ARVI and acute bronchitis. If an infant has a cough without fever, then you can safely use this pharmaceutical remedy. Before use, you should consult your doctor. Contraindications: the patient is less than six months old.
  3. Dr. Tice's eucalyptus balm is an effective medicine, but it is approved for use in children over two years old.

Rubbing really helps if you follow safety precautions and the pediatrician’s recommendations.

Drainage massage

If an infant coughs, he may be prescribed a drainage massage. It is best to entrust such manipulations to a professional, but parents can also cope if they follow the technique. A wet cough in a baby is often accompanied by viscous sputum, in which case a massage will come in handy.

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The baby is placed on his knees, his stomach is down, and his head is below his feet. The back should be stroked in a circular motion, but the spine area should not be affected. With the edge of the palm, they begin to pat from the lower back to the shoulder blades. After several light blows, the baby is placed upright and asked to simulate a bronchospasm. They do a massage with a wet cough, the mucus begins to clear well, the lungs are cleansed.

The procedure is allowed if the baby has a wet cough without fever. But before the massage you need to consult a pediatrician. Parents should not refuse the services of a professional massage therapist. If the procedure is prescribed by the attending pediatrician, the employee will come home to the patient who is not yet one year old.

Third reason

The third reason for a newborn to develop a cough without fever is an allergy. In this situation, the cough is constant and persistent. Most often it is accompanied by wheezing, which can be heard at a distance, and, to a greater or lesser extent, the child is short of breath.

It is especially worth thinking about allergies if your parents or other relatives have any allergic diseases in your family. And, of course, if the baby himself has any signs of atopy - diathesis, rashes, tummy problems.

An allergic cough should be treated by an allergist, so you should definitely contact your pediatrician for a referral to be examined by a specialist.

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