Stephen J. Schueler, M.D.

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Productive Cough Cough in Children

Home treatment of a cough in children includes:

  • Avoid respiratory irritants, such as pollution, pollen, mold, dust and chemical fumes.
  • Change A/C and furnace filters regularly.
  • Avoid exposure to secondary smoke.
  • Drink warm liquids to relieve coughing spasms.
  • Use throat lozenges, but do not use them in children under 5 years of age.
  • Place a vaporizer or nebulizer in the bedroom at night.

Cough medicines:

Dosing Dextromethorphan
Childs WeightDextromethorphan Dose
22 lb (10 kg)5 mg every 8 hrs
33 lb (15 kg)7.5 mg every 8 hrs
44 lb (20 kg)10 mg every 8 hrs
55 lb (25 kg)12.5 mg every 8 hrs
66 lb (30 kg)15 mg every 8 hrs
88 lb (40 kg)20 mg every 8 hrs
110 lb (50 kg)25 mg every 8 hrs
132 lb-adult (60 kg)30 mg every 8 hrs

Cough medication precautions:
  • Contact your doctor before using cough medicine in a child less than 6 years old.
  • A cough can help clear infected mucus from the lungs. Suppressing the cough may reduce the child's ability to fight the infection.
  • Cough medicine can cause drowsiness.
  • Talk to the doctor before you give cough medicine to a child who has asthma, lung disease, heart disease or kidney disease.

Continue to Productive Cough Warning Signs

Last Updated: Dec 8, 2010 References
Authors: Stephen J. Schueler, MD; John H. Beckett, MD; D. Scott Gettings, MD
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PubMed Productive Cough References
  1. Chang AB, Asher MI. A review of cough in children. J Asthma. 2001 Jun;38(4):299-309. [11456383]
  2. Irwin RS, Curley FJ. The treatment of cough. A comprehensive review. Chest. 1991 Jun;99(6):1477-84. [2036833]
  3. Schroeder K, Fahey T. Should we advise parents to administer over the counter cough medicines for acute cough? Systematic review of randomised controlled trials. Arch Dis Child. 2002 Mar;86(3):170-5. [11861232]
  4. Schroeder K, Fahey T. Systematic review of randomised controlled trials of over the counter cough medicines for acute cough in adults. BMJ. 2002 Feb 9;324(7333):329-31. [11834560]
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