How to Cure a Dry Cough in Children

It's really important to keep a close eye on your child's dry cough. If you've tried these remedies and the cough still persists after a while, make sure you go and see a doctor.
How to Cure a Dry Cough in Children

Last update: 01 August, 2022

A dry cough is when a cough doesn’t produce any phlegm. It also tends to cause irritation and, if not treated, can get worse each time. A dry cough in children is very common under the age of 10 years old and can occur a number of times a year for different reasons.

This condition affects both children and adults equally. Sometimes it’s a necessary evil, as it’s a way of getting rid of a foreign body, something you ingested, or is the symptom of another illness.

Although a dry cough is seen as an ailment, it’s actually a natural mechanism to clear the respiratory pathways.

Causes of a Dry Cough in Children

Child in bed having temperature taken, dry cough in children

There are many possible causes for a dry cough in children. The most common is inflammation caused by rhinitis, bronchitis, or laryngitis, among others.

There are also some special situations which can cause a dry cough, without an underlying illness. One example would be when in an environment filled with tobacco smoke, excess humidity, or when experiencing a sudden change of temperature.

Some of the most common causes for a dry cough in children are the following:

  • Very cold or dry environments
  • Air conditioning
  • Strong smells
  • Allergic reactions
  • Very dusty places
  • Irritation of the respiratory passage caused by a cold or flu
  • As the result of gastric reflux or a similar condition

Parents will often look for a way to cure their child’s dry cough. Whether it’s some form of medication or a natural remedy, they want to relieve them of their discomfort.

Let’s take a look at some natural remedies for a dry cough in children.

Natural Treatments to Soothe A Dry Cough in Children

There are many natural remedies to alleviate the symptoms of a dry cough. They’ll help comfort your child and make them feel better.

Drink Enough Fluids

Drinking fluids when suffering from irritation of the breathing passageways is really important to improve the symptoms.

Make sure your child drinks enough waterthroughout the dayThis will keep the membranes moist. They should drink them at room temperature to minimize the cough effectively.

Steam Baths

Steam baths are another way to help your child.

For the best results, your child should breathe in the vapor, if possible, for about 20 minutes. This will help reduce irritation and humidify the respiratory passages.

Check the temperature yourself first so that it’s not so hot so as to burn them.

Non-citrus Fruit Juices

Non citrus fruit juices which can be a good remedy for a dry cough

If your child has a dry cough, it’s really important that any juices you give them should be non-citrus and not warm. This is because these will generate mucus.

Remember, the respiratory passageways form part of the skin. So, the mucosa, like with the rest of your skin, should be treated at room temperature.


Place a humidifier in your child’s bedroom and keep it running for a few minutes while your child is out of the room. The idea is that the room should be humid and warm.

You can also add some essence of laurel or eucalyptus. The smell will help to clear the airways and relax when they go to sleep.

Drink Honey and Lemon

Giving your child a tablespoon of honey with a few drops of lemon before bed is a great way to alleviate a dry cough.

It’s quite common for a dry cough to get worse during the night because your child is lying down. This, in turn, increases the discomfort and the irritation of the mucosa.

Recipe for a Natural Cough Syrup

This recipe is great for relieving a dry cough, and it’s made with lemon and honey.

Although lemon is a citrus fruit, it can alkalize the body very quickly. Honey helps eliminate bacteria and moisten the throat.


  • 1 cup of honey (336 ml)
  • 1/2 cup of water (125 ml)
  • 1 lemon

How to Make It

  • Heat the honey in a pan over a low heat (don’t let it boil, or it’ll lose its properties).
  • Pour the water into a pan and add the whole lemon.
  • Cook the lemon for 3 minutes until it’s soft.
  • Remove the lemon from the heat, strain the water and leave to cool. Then, cut the lemon into slices and remove the seeds.
  • Tip the lemon slices into the honey while over the heat and cook at a low temperature for an hour.
  • Next, remove the mixture from the heat and remove the lemon slices.
  • Lastly, leave to cool and pour into a sterile container with a lid.

Both adults and children can use this syrup and it’s great for soothing a dry cough. Children can have half a teaspoon three times a day. Adults can have a tablespoon as often as they think necessary.

It’s really important to keep a close eye on your child’s dry cough. If you’ve tried these remedies and the cough still persists after a while, make sure you go and see a doctor.

All cited sources were thoroughly reviewed by our team to ensure their quality, reliability, currency, and validity. The bibliography of this article was considered reliable and of academic or scientific accuracy.

  • Hine, C., Gilchrist, F., & Carroll, W. (2017). Chronic cough in children. Paediatrics and Child Health (United Kingdom).
  • Oduwole, O., Meremikwu, M. M., Oyo-Ita, A., & Udoh, E. E. (2014). Honey for acute cough in children. Evidence-Based Child Health.
  • Sultana, S., Khan, A., Safhi, M. M., & Alhazmi, H. A. (2016). Cough Suppressant Herbal Drugs: A Review. International Journal of Pharmaceutical Science Invention ISSN (Online.
  • Wang, K., Bettiol, S., Thompson, M. J., Roberts, N. W., Perera, R., Heneghan, C. J., & Harnden, A. (2014). Symptomatic treatment of the cough in whooping cough. Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews.

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