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Home remedy for coughing: inhalation in young children

Nebulization, better known as inhalation, is one of the safest and easiest ways to treat cough in infants and young children. The non-invasive active substance reaches the lungs better, and the high dose concentration ensures that the desired effect is achieved quickly and also reduces the frequency of application. How to inhale in infants and young children? Should I use saline or special inhalation medications?

Inhalation - an effective method of applying the drug

Inhalation can be done using several different devices. It has been commonly referred to as nebulization device inhalers (pneumatic, ultrasonic and vibration models). Classic inhalers are pressure models, dry powder and soft mist and are a much broader category: the nebulizer is a component of the inhaler, but it has been accepted (mistakenly) in society that nebulization and inhalation are the same concepts involving the introduction of the active substance into the respiratory tract through the vapor state . For the sake of order, however, the article will be used as a synonymous procedure involving the inhalation of steam directly into the respiratory tract.

As demonstrated by the results of studies published in the article Nebulization as a method of administering drugs, medicinal preparations administered to patients in the form of inhalation for respiratory diseases show better effects than drugs administered orally or parenterally. Inhalation drug given in the form of vapor allows the application of a higher dose of active substance concentration, limiting the activity of microorganisms, and is also non-invasive, painless and almost free of side effects. The drug works faster, reaching a direct place, and due to the high concentration in the bronchi and low concentration in the blood, it does not overload the liver as it does with syrups and tablets. This is one of the methods of home treatment of cough in young children and babies, which you can safely carry out yourself. The only obstacle to inhalation is the inefficient use of nebulization devices.

Inhalation in children - how does it work?

Nebulization is a method of administering drugs to the patient in the form of airborne particles of small substances. Depending on their size, they reach different parts of the respiratory system: particles in the 20-100 μm range settle in the nose, mouth and throat, particles 6-12 μm stop in the trachea and bronchi, and those in sizes 1-5 μm reach the alveoli.

Saline inhalation (0.9% sodium chloride) works mainly moisturizing and gently cleansing the respiratory tract. In the case of more serious ailments, for example wet cough, it is much better to reach for special ones inhalation drugs with a mucolytic substance responsible for removing residual secretions in the respiratory tract.

Pneumatic type inhalers are the most popular jet, i.e. those equipped with a compressor driven by electricity (electricity, batteries), which pump air through a special nozzle. Their advantages include the possibility of administering a different dose of the drug and the possibility of its modification, the active substances are effective already with normal breathing and do not require the patient's coordination of breathing. How to carry out such inhalation from salt or with the help of a medicine? Accurate instructions in ten steps can be found at //

The second solution is inhalation using an ultrasonic nebulizer, which produces monodisperative aerosol particles that are delivered to the respiratory tract by means of special ultrasounds. These devices are equally effective for type nebulizers jet, with their help the inhalation process is carried out much faster, but their disadvantages include, above all, the high price of the equipment. For infants who may have problems applying the medicine, it is recommended to place the child in a small room along with a bowl of hot water in which the dissolved medicine is located. The released vapor together with the active substance allows simultaneous pharmacotherapy and oxygen therapy.

Homemade ways to cough - effective advice

Inhalations are highly effective for the treatment of wet cough in young patients, however, it should be remembered that the effects will only be achieved if the inhalation process is correct. The mask must adhere very tightly to the face, even small deviations can reduce the efficiency of the drug by more than 80%! If the child is crying or upset, he takes short and shallow breaths, and then the effectiveness of the drug is reduced, because it is deposited in the airways only when deeply inhaled.

Under no circumstances should you use essential oils or vegetable infusions for nebulization - the device is designed to break down the compounds into the smallest particles so that they get into the lower respiratory tract, and undiluted oils can only irritate the respiratory system. It is better to inhale them during steam inhalation over a bowl with warm (but not hot) water.

How else can you help a child suffering from a troublesome wet cough? One of the simplest but effective methods is to gently pat the back, which should be done about 30 minutes after inhalation. The baby lies on his lap, the head should be lower than the back and gently, with the help of a hand in a boat, pats the entire back from top to bottom, for about 3-5 minutes. This helps to remove residual secretions and improves blood supply to the lungs.

It should be remembered that if the child is given a mucolytic medicine, they must be hydrated additionally. Coughing is often only one of the symptoms of the disease, which is also accompanied by fever, and thus increased sweating. Infants and young children should drink at least 1 liter of fluid per day. It is also helpful to humidify the air so that the humidity oscillates around 60%, as well as maintaining a constant room temperature of 20-21 degrees Celsius.

Attention! The above advice is only a suggestion and cannot replace a visit to a specialist. Remember that in case of health problems, it is imperative to consult a doctor!


  • Bożena Karolewicz, Janusz Pluta, Dorota Haznar, Nebulization as a method of administering drugs, online access: //
  • Inhalation of the child, online access: //
  • Inhalation and nebulization - principles, types and safety of therapy, online access: //
  • Jolanta Pietrzak, Anna Obuchowicz, Katarzyna Kowol-Trela, Inhalation therapy in children, online access: //