Within the first 2 to 3 years of a baby’s life, he/she could have up to 13 bouts of cold and cough. This is often due to a weakened immune system. Children tend to be exposed to infection-causing viruses through contaminated surfaces or air. They could also get infected by other people with cold or a cough.
Common symptoms of cold in babies include; stuffy or runny nose, coughing, fever/chills, loss of appetite, and, difficulty in sleeping.
Here are some tips and good practices, to consider, when dealing with your baby’s cold or cough;
- You could keep a mist humidifier in your baby’s room to help ease their breathing difficulty.
- Keep your family pet away from your baby’s room when your baby is down with cold and cough.
- If the weather is cold, put on the appropriate thick clothing for your baby.
- Avoid using home remedies on infants that are less than 3 months old.
- Endeavor to breastfeed your child as often as possible. This is because breast milk is rich in nutrients and antioxidants that help fight germs and viruses.
- Get rid of stuffed animals, and other items that could carry pollen allergies, from your baby’s room.
- Endeavor to see a pediatrician if your baby’s cold and cough is accompanied by other severe symptoms.
- Don’t get overly anxious about your infant’s cold and cough. Such conditions tend to develop their immune system.
- Help your infant wash his/her hand often to curtail the spread of the infection.
- Avoid giving honey to babies under the age of 1. This act could lead to a rare infant disease called infant botulism.
- Always consult your pediatrician if your baby is less than 3 months old and has a fever.
Below are natural remedies and treatments for treating colds and coughs for infants;
If your baby is older than a year, honey is one of the best remedies for your baby’s colds and coughs. Honey not only soothes a sore throat but also boosts immunity to inhibit the cold and cough. Take 2 teaspoons of honey and mix it with a teaspoon of freshly squeezed lemon juice. Make your baby consume it every few hours.
Camphor may help in opening up airways and provide an instant relief to your baby. Add a little camphor in hot coconut oil and mix well. Allow the mixture to cool. Now take 5 drops of it in your palms and rub it over the baby’s chest in a gentle way. Make sure you mix a very little amount of camphor as too much of it may irritate the delicate skin of your baby.
3. Sponge Bath
Usually, a fever is associated with colds and coughs. To relieve your baby from discomfort, you may give him/her a sponge bath 2-3 times every day until the problem subsides. Take a clean washcloth and dip it in tap water. Make sure the water is at room temperature. Remove excess water from the cloth and wipe your baby. Alternatively, placing a damp cloth on the forehead of your baby may also help in reducing the fever.
4. Eucalyptus Oil
Eucalyptus oil has a strong scent that opens up the airways and provides a great relief from cough. All you have to do is sprinkle a little eucalyptus oil in the bedding of your baby and let her breath in.
Heat mustard oil in a pan and add a few cloves of garlic to it. Bring it to boil and remove it from heat. Allow it to cool. While still warm, take a few drops of the oil in your palm and apply it topically on the chest and neck area of your baby. The antiviral properties of garlic naturally help in fighting the infection while the warmth of mustard oil is beneficial in reducing cold.
Ginger is a great antibacterial and anti-inflammatory agent. Ginger also helps in boosting the immune system. Take about 6 cups of water in a pan and add half a cup of finely chopped ginger and 2 sticks of cinnamon. Simmer it for 20 minutes. Then, strain it and add a little raw honey. Feed your baby with this concoction several times in a day. You may add sugar in place of honey for babies below 1 year.
7. Apple Cider Vinegar
Apple cider vinegar helps in drawing heat from the body through the skin and would aid in keeping the fever down in babies. Mix one part of raw and unfiltered apple cider vinegar with 2 parts of cool water. Dip 2 clean washcloths in it and wring out the excess solution. Now place a washcloth, each, on forehead and tummy of your baby. Remove after 10 minutes and reapply.
8. Chicken Soup
If your baby is older than 8 months, you may feed them chicken soup. Chicken soup will help in breaking down the congestion and open up the respiratory passages. It also boosts immunity in a natural way.
Basil works effectively in relieving cold and cough. For this remedy, warm some coconut oil with crushed fresh basil leaves. Now use this oil to gently massage the chest area of your baby. Also, massage it on the back and feet of your baby.
10. Saline Drops
For a quick relief from nasal congestion due to cold and cough, you may use saline drops. The salt-based water helps in clearing the nose and facilitate easy breathing. Elevate the head of your baby and put a few drops in each nostril.
Ajwain or carom seeds is highly effective in reducing cold and cough in babies. All you have to do is dry roast some carom seeds in a pan and wrap the warm seeds in a cotton cloth. Then, gently place it on the chest and back areas of your baby intermittently. Make sure the wrap is not too hot and ensure at least one layer of clothing before doing it.
12. Light Steam
Steam is another easy and cheap remedy for blocked air passages. Start by preparing a steamer. Now hold your baby in your lap and switch on the steamer. Allow your baby to inhale the steam for about 12-15 minutes. A humidifier may also help in reducing congestion from your baby’s chest.
Saffron can relieve blocked chest in an excellent way. To use saffron for babies, you must make a paste by mixing saffron with water. Then, spread it on the forehead, throat, and chest of your baby before bedtime. Also, apply some under the feet.
14. Orange Juice
Oranges are crammed with vitamin C which is essential for boosting immunity. Babies younger than 2 years can consume orange juice diluted with warm water at regular intervals to fight the conditions. Children of age 2 and above may consume 2 glasses of the juice every day.
If your baby is less than 6 months, breast milk may prove to be the best medicine to prevent and cure most health problems. Breast milk contains nutrients essential for their growth, development and disease prevention. They may refuse breastmilk when sick but try out different positions to make it work.
16. Mustard Oil
Heat 8-10 teaspoon of mustard oil in a pan and add garlic cloves and ajwain seeds in it. Remove from heat and let it cool. Once the oil is cooled and is infused with the goodness of garlic and ajwain, strain it and pour the strained oil in an airtight jar. To relieve cold and cough, warm a few drops of it and apply on the chest, back and forehead of your baby.
17. Keep The Baby’s Head Elevated
Keeping your baby’s head at an elevated position may help in reducing blockage in the nose. Gravity will gradually pull the mucus down the nose allowing your baby to sleep better.
Dehydration is common during bouts of cold and cough which can make the condition worse. Replenish fluids in your baby’s body by feeding them with oral rehydration solution. Older children may consume a small amount of lukewarm water at regular intervals. You could also serve broths and vegetable soup to replenish fluid.
19. Vicks Baby Rub
Babies above 4 months can be relieved from cold and cough using Vicks Baby Rub. Simply rub some of it on the feet of your baby and put on his/her warm socks. It helps in breaking down the mucus in the airways and relieves congestion.
Chamomile tea has a soothing action on the body. It would help reduce the symptoms of cold and cough in an easy way. Prepare diluted chamomile tea and give it to your child above 2 years of age.
Take a piece of dried turmeric root and place it over an open flame. As it starts burning with a thread-like fume, let your baby inhale the fume for one minute. If your baby is older than 2 years, you may mix some powdered turmeric with milk and allow them to drink it.
Okra has a mucilaginous nature that aids in reducing mucus, throat irritations and inflammations. Take a cup of boiling water and add sliced okra to it. Let it sit for 10-12 minutes and allow the solution to cool. Give it to your baby above 1 year.
Cinnamon can be given to babies over the age of 1 year. It is packed with antioxidants that help in promoting a faster healing. Take a quarter teaspoon of cinnamon and mix it with a teaspoon of honey. Give this to your baby several times at intervals of four hours.
If your baby is suffering from a dry cough, ghee can be helpful. Just heat some ghee with a little ground pepper. Give your baby a little amount of it several times during the day to relieve the symptoms. This remedy is suitable for babies above 1 year.
Lemons have high antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties which are great for fighting the cold. Take the peels and juice of four lemons and a tablespoon of finely sliced ginger in a pan. Now add boiling water to it so that the ingredients are covered. Cover the pan and let it steep for 8-10 minutes. Strain the concoction. Now dilute it with equal parts of warm water and add a dash of honey. Let your baby drink this lemonade several times during the day. Avoid adding honey if your baby is less than a year.
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