My Child Has a Dry Cough at Night: What Should I Do?

Why does my child have a dry cough at night? This cough is usually caused by obstruction in the respiratory tract because of mucous or other problems. We have some practical tips to treat this bothersome condition that stops parents and children alike from resting.
My Child Has a Dry Cough at Night: What Should I Do?

Last update: 07 March, 2019

When they’re small, it’s common for children to get mucous caught in their airways frequently. However, it’s normal for the cough to go away after a few days. When it doesn’t stop, your child might have a dry cough at night. What do you do when that happens?

Coughing is a reflex that the body does when the airways are clogged by mucous. Through coughing, your body tries to get rid of the strange agents that are stuck.

Your child’s dry cough at night appears when the upper airways start to get irritated in an unusual way. Similar to adults, children can’t sleep or rest at night.

Characteristics of dry cough at night

Colds can disappear without leaving a trace, or they can go on for a while with a dry cough. Sometimes, this severe irritation in the respiratory tract appears without nasal congestiondepending on what caused it.

To clarify, this cough isn’t an emergency. However, you want to make sure that you treat it properly. In general, this annoying cough comes from an infection, caused by a virus in the upper airways.

When your child has a dry cough, the sound of his cough can scare the whole family. However, keep a cool head and don’t make your child more anxiousCrying will just make the situation worse.

Causes of dry cough

In the winter, too much heating can make the environment dry. Without ventilation and since you sleep horizontally, dry heat makes mucous thicken. Therefore, it can block your child’s airways.

On the other hand, the same hot air has little dust particles. This can cause throat irritation, which causes the annoying cough.

My Child Has a Dry Cough at Night, What Should I Do?

How to prevent coughing fits in children

A well-ventilated room will prevent air from becoming stale and drying out. Although the environment should be comfortable so that your child isn’t too cold at night, it’s best not to place direct heat sources on your child’s face.

If you want to keep your child’s room nice and balanced, we recommend using a humidifier.

“Coughing is a reflex that the body does when the airways are clogged by mucous. Through coughing, your body tries to get rid of the strange agents that are stuck.”

Symptoms of dry cough at night

Your child may also have a fever along with a dry cough. However, don’t worry. Fevers are a natural defense mechanism to combat viruses in the body.

However, if the fever doesn’t go down and it’s hard for your child to breathe, go to the emergency room.

In addition to fevers, dry cough in children may also experience nausea and bronchospasms. Bronchopasms make a whistling noise while breathing.

It can be exhausting for your child to have an episode of dry cough with shortness of breath. If you notice that his neck starts to sink into his collar bone, that is a sign of an emergency. You need to take him to the hospital as soon as possible.

A case of dry cough that isn’t treated in time can turn into something much more serious, like pneumonia. Therefore, when going to the doctor, he might request a chest X-ray. In it, he could notice inflammation or anything else obstructing the airways.

My Child Has a Dry Cough at Night, What Should I Do?

Treatment for dry cough in children

Generally, the best medication is based on corticosteroids that open up the airways

Therefore, you could use some natural remedies like steam baths to reduce inflammation. Additionally, it’s important to ventilate the room to prevent future episodes of dry coughs.

In addition, here are some remedies to complement the prescription from your doctor:

  • Place glasses of water throughout the house. That way, it will prevent the environment from drying out too much.
  • Drink plenty of fluids. This will help your child get rid of mucous and any other foreign agents.
  • Try to have your child sleep with his head elevated an inch or two. You can do this by putting a pillow under his mattress.

In conclusion, if it’s the first time that your child has ever had a dry cough, it’s normal to panic. However, don’t lose your temper, because tension will only make the cough worse. 

You can treat the cough by ventilating the house, or give him a steam bath until the cough goes away.

This text is provided for informational purposes only and does not replace consultation with a professional. If in doubt, consult your specialist.