What is the Best Treatment for a Chronic Cough in Children?

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  • Written By: Autumn Rivers
  • Edited By: Andrew Jones
  • Last Modified Date: 28 July 2019
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The best treatment for chronic cough in children usually depends on its underlying cause. For example, if it is due to asthma, an inhaler or steroids can be offered by a pediatrician to open the airways. Postnasal drip can also result in coughing, in which case a decongestant or antihistamine should typically be used. Some children suffer from gastroesophageal reflux disease, or GERD, which can be treated by avoiding certain foods and taking medication prescribed by a doctor. In some cases, the issue is due to infection, such as the bacterial strains of bronchitis or pneumonia, which are usually treated with antibiotics.

Some children suffer from asthma, which can result in constant coughing to try to clear the airways, as they are usually swollen and therefore difficult to breathe through. The best treatment for this is usually an inhaler filled with either steroids or bronchodilators that can make it easier to breathe without coughing. It is necessary to see a pediatrician for this treatment for chronic cough in children.


Postnasal drip is another cause of chronic cough in children, which can be due to a number of conditions. Sinusitis is one common culprit of the cough, though allergic rhinitis, usually called hay fever, is also often an issue. Since allergies are frequently caused by dust, pollen, pet dander, or mold, staying away from these items can help treat the problem. Those with severe allergies are usually also given an inhaler by their doctor, while children suffering from postnasal drip for other reasons may be offered decongestants or antihistamines.

Gastroesophageal reflux disease, often known as GERD, plagues some children, causing a chronic cough due to stomach acid coming back up into the throat. In most cases, avoiding foods that cause GERD, elevating the head while lying down, and avoiding food just before bed can kept this issue at bay. Some doctors may also prescribe medication to relieve acidity in the stomach so that food is less likely to come back up the throat and cause chronic cough in children.

Finally, some infections may cause a lot of coughing among children, especially if bacteria can be observed in the lower airways. For example, bronchitis and pneumonia may lead to chronic cough in children, and as long as they are caused by bacteria, antibiotics should clear up either condition. If the cause is a virus, the best treatment may be rest, fluids, pain medication, and cough medicine that includes guaifenesin.



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