Home remedies for cold & cough in babies
Is your baby suffering from a bad cold and cough? Wouldn’t it be wonderful if you could find home remedies for cold and cough which could be made with ingredients already available at home? Read here to find out more about how to keep your family safe from the cold and cough virus!
The month of June heralds the monsoon season, bringing forth much-needed relief from the scorching summer heat. It’s time to enjoy the pleasant sights and sounds of raindrops falling incessantly outside our windows.
But while we rejoice, we also need to be prepared to cloak an extra shield of protection around the youngest members of our family. With their developing immune systems, babies are most vulnerable to airborne and waterborne infections. If you have one school-aged child as well at home, then you stay on double alert. At school, with close contact amongst children, comes the risk of easily catching infectious diseases.
Most common of all monsoon-related ailments and also, one of those frequently appearing is the common cold and cough. It is caused by a virus and is an extremely contagious infection that can be passed on through human contact. As there are hundreds of viruses that can cause a cold, the human body cannot build immunity against all of them.
Symptoms of Common Cold in Children
- A sore throat
- Blocked or running nose
- Slight body ache
- Mild fever
- A cough
At a nascent stage, the common cold causes more inconvenience than harm. However, there could be serious complications arising out of the common cold. These include asthma, sinusitis, bronchitis, pneumonia and croup amongst children.
The common cold is known to last on an average of 5 to 7 days. However, it can last up to 2 weeks. Children catch a cold which sometimes moves over to be a bacterial infection, that lasts longer.
Human Body’s Line of Defense Against Common Cold
The human body has a multi-layer defense system to fight diseases also known as the immune system.
To fight the common cold, it makes use of bodily fluids like mucus, which traps foreign bodies like viruses, bacteria, and other pollutants to prevent their entry into our respiratory tract. However, this level of defense can be broken through. When the cold virus enters our body and multiplies, we get symptoms of infection. The white blood cells in our body now attack the virus and destroy’s them, thereby forming another important component of our immune system. There is also another amazing capability of our immune system. It can catalog the virus it has destroyed and respond to the virus in the same fashion if it were to re-enter the body.
Healthy, nutritious dietary habits, good sleep, and exercise are critical in strengthening the body’s immune system – An absolute essential for every child.
Dealing With Common Cold?
Disturbance in sleep pattern, caused by nasal congestion due to cold, is common in both infants and children. Breathing is more labored during sleep owing to the sleep posture. For children, add an extra pillow to elevate the head. This allows the sinuses to drain more readily.
Dressing appropriately for the weather is significant for children of all ages, including babies. During a cold, resist from covering up babies in additional layers of clothing. Ensure the baby is comfortably dressed and add layers only if the baby’s chest feels cold to your touch.
A diet including lots of fluids is essential. This helps loosen the mucus making it easier for your baby to breathe. As children below the age of 1 can get dehydrated very fast, it is especially important to keep an eye on their fluid intake.
Home Remedies To the Rescue!!
Before the age of over-the-counter nasal decongestants and cough suppressants, moms relied on home remedies to fight common cold and cough. Even today, the use of natural ingredients makes it a safer and sustainable option to adopt.
Listed below are some home remedies for cold in babies & kids. It has ingredients already available in your house or be easily sourced from the neighborhood store.
For Children Under 1 year!
For babies under 6 months, breast milk is the wonder drink. Packed with vital nutrients, breast milk contains antibodies that help in shortening the duration of the cold and allows the baby to recover faster. It is easily digestible and helps the baby stay hydrated.
When a baby has a blocked nose, it can be frustrating as breathing through the mouth and nursing simultaneously pose a huge challenge. In such cases, you can position the baby upright while nursing and also use a humidifier/ steam to decongest the nasal passages.
For children over 1 year!
This is a traditional remedy for a sore throat, cough, and aids in better nighttime sleep. With its anti-inflammatory and anti-bacterial properties, honey can be had on its own or along with lemon or ginger to treat a cold. However, ensure you do not give honey to children younger than one year as they run the risk of contracting infant botulism, which can be fatal.
TURMERIC & MILK
Turmeric contains antiviral and antibacterial properties that help fight infections. At night, a cup of warm milk mixed with a pinch of turmeric soothes a sore throat and helps children get restful sleep.
STEAM INHALATION WITH EUCALYPTUS OIL
Image source: livestrong.com
Eucalyptus is a natural antiseptic. Steam inhalation with a few drops of eucalyptus oil poured into the hot water is an effective remedy to clear nasal passages, guaranteed to bring relief to your little one.
A Word of CAUTION!
1) Consult a doctor for steam in case kid is less than or 3 months old.
2) Pour only a few drops as it has a strong scent. Be mindful of hot water near children. Do not bring the child too close to the steamer to avoid the risk of scalding their delicate skin.
Salt is a powerful antibacterial agent, which prohibits the spread of bacterial infection. Salt water gargle several times a day helps reduce swelling in the throat, and loosens mucus, helping to flush out bacteria. However, this is a remedy reserved for older children who are aware of the method of gargling
A lack of appetite is common during the cold. Therefore warm soups made with well-cooked vegetables and use of spices like ginger, cumin, and basil are nutritious, wholesome and offer great relief to children. It also helps in keeping hydration levels up.
CAROM SEEDS / AJWAIN
Carom seeds are also known as ajwain. It is a popular Indian spice, which has many antimicrobial properties that relieve congestion. It can be used in a variety of ways like ajwain garlic potli, herbal decoction, ajwain jaggery powder or even use it to spice up your child’s soup.
Tulsi is not only a holy plant but also one with immense medicinal properties including being a strong antibacterial and antibiotic agent. Juice made by boiling tulsi leaves mixed with ginger and honey, or tulsi leaves with ginger and black pepper pods can do wonders for treating colds in children.
Nothing like an oil massage and warm bath to help a baby sleep better during a bout of cold. Common oils to use for massage include mustard oil and coconut oil. Their effectiveness can be further enhanced by infusing them with garlic, carom, and tulsi.
The above listed are home remedies for cold in babies, using ingredients available close to you. However, be cautious: Do not try all remedies simultaneously. Watch out for allergic reactions if any ingredients in your home remedy are being used for the first time on your baby. Consult a medical professional if you suspect a reaction. Always ensure you only use age-appropriate home remedies to fight cold.
If you find these methods work for your baby, then continue using it as common colds continue to affect children in their school years as well. This also ensures there is no excessive dependency on the use of medications to counter an unwanted but frequent visitor to your home
Fruits And Vegetables to Avoid During Monsoon!
Say no to green leafy vegetables as the mud and the dampness in them makes them a ripe environment for germs. Avoid spinach, broccoli, cabbage, and cauliflower.
If you want to eat fresh fruits, ensure they are cut and consumed immediately. Prolonged exposure to monsoon air may lead to contamination of fruits, especially if you are at a roadside eatery.
If you want to drink fruit juice, it is best prepared at home. You can, therefore, ensure only clean water is used. Once prepared, consume juice immediately.
It is recommended to stick to seasonal fruits and vegetables, that are available in plenty in a market near you.
Moms, can you breastfeed when you are suffering from the cold?
The answer is yes. Breastfeeding is safe when you are suffering from cold. However, in case you plan to take medication to treat your cold, then check with a doctor if it is compatible with breastfeeding.
Let’s STOP the Cold VIRUS!
As we mentioned earlier, the common cold is contagious. When a person suffering from cold sneezes or coughs, there are droplets released into the air or any surface around them, which will contain the cold virus. Any other person who comes in contact with these droplets runs the risk of catching a cold.
Now within a family, members come in close contact with each other inside their home. The closest contact could be amongst nursing moms and infants. Therefore, each remains vulnerable to the cold virus if the other has contracted it already. If a mom is suffering from a cold, she can reduce chances of passing on the cold to her baby by following the below steps:
- Washing hands frequently
- Trying not to sneeze or cough during nursing
- Trying not to sneeze or cough close to the baby
If other members of the family have contracted a cold, ensure they have limited contact with the baby.
Cold Virus? That too from Home Conditions? How?
There are some aspects of your housekeeping that can prevent the spread of the cold virus inside your home. Disinfecting common surfaces that could have caught on some cold virus droplets, is a good start.
Your phone, remote control, bathrooms and dining tables are possibly the most prone areas, which need to be disinfected. Separate the toothbrush of the cold sufferer from that of the rest of the family to avoid the spread of germs.
For the baby, do ensure stuffed toys, blankets and pillows are washed frequently. Anyone handling the baby needs to wash their hands frequently to prevent the spread of a cold virus.
Early Lessons for Your Children!
Here are some tips to help your children prevent the spread of the cold virus. Do remember, an early start in following these tips helps them fall sick less often.
- Teach your children to cover their mouth while coughing or sneezing.
- Encourage them to sneeze into the crook of their arm.
- Remind them to regularly wash their hands.
- Remind them to avoid touching their eyes, mouth, and nose.
- Encourage them to maintain a polite distance during conversations.
- Point out the importance of dressing appropriately for weather conditions
Have you heard – prevention is better than cure? So if you find the cold virus is doing the rounds, it is always better to prevent catching it. As parents, we watch out for the health of our children. It is equally important for us to take care of our own health and not fall sick.
Children are bound to catch a common cold, given the levels of interactions with their neighborhood. However, bear in mind that each bout of cold also contributes to strengthening the ability of the body to fight it off. Therefore, instead of stressing about it, you are better placed if you can help your child recover faster. It also forms a good foundation to inculcate healthy eating habits in your children.
Dealing with cold and cough is tough for adults, it is tougher for children. So, in addition to following some of the tips we have outlined for you, remember to dole out an extra load of tender, loving care. That’s just what your little one wants!