Any tips for constant coughing?

Specialties School


Anyone have any tips for stopping the constant, irritative coughs in littles? I'm talking about the kids who literally just have a tickle and cannot seem to clear it and so they cough so hard they vomit... The ones where they are otherwise acting normally, breathing normally, speaking in full sentences and have no other signs of respiratory distress... Seems to be a pattern of these with all of the non-covid virus stuff going around. It is obviously annoying to everyone, and while I would normally just send the kids home, sometimes that is not an option. I know when I have one, I go for honey, but that isn't really an option in my office. Other cough drops, water, and gargles don't seem to help these kids. 

Anyone have any out of the box interventions on this??

Specializes in Med-Surg, Oncology, OB, School Nurse.

I’ve never found anything that we are allowed to use that helps. If they can’t stop coughing and it’s constant or making them vomit  I just send them home. Some kids end up needing an inhaler or steroids so I always recommend Dr follow up if they don’t get better in the next couple days. If they aren’t learning much and being disruptive (through no fault of their own ) there’s no point in them being there plus they are usually exhausted from non stop coughing and not sleeping well at night. Most of the time just a couple more days of rest helps them get over that hump. 

If they’re coughing but it’s not constant I’ll call the parent and ask them to bring in some cough med and give them to see if it helps. 


raebabelvn, LVN

1 Article; 235 Posts

Specializes in School LVN, Peds HH.

I have small hard candies I give out as "cough drops". They seem to help some!

NutmeggeRN, BSN

3 Articles; 4,601 Posts

Specializes in kids.

I have had some kids be dxd with asthma when referred for a chronic cough. Contact the parents and see if they can have the child seen.

Specializes in 8 years as a school nurse.

At home, Delsym is my go-to cough suppressant. It works so much better than any robitussin or dimetapp or mucinex. I suggest it to parents. It knocks out the cough reflex. At school unless the parent brings that, I can only use cough drops, peppermint candies, and encourage drinking water frequently. 

Specializes in pediatrics, school nursing.

Yeah, we can't do the OTCs that aren't in our standing orders unless an MD gives me an student-specific order. The issue seems to have calmed now that flu & RSV aren't running rampant in our building. A lot of the kids were given meds before school, but lunchtime and outdoor recess hit just as the meds wear off and so they would all show up with these coughs at the same time. I'm thankful that it has calmed down.

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