According to studies, children might catch cold and cough of about 10 -12 times in the first year. It might be more in some kids. A cold is an infection of the nose and throat, caused by a virus. A cold is also called a viral upper respiratory infection, which can be healed through nebulization. Many different viruses, up to 200, can cause a cold. In any given year in the rest of infancy, a child is likely to get from 6 to 12 colds. Having many colds does not mean your child has a weak immune system. Over the years, repeated exposure to different viruses helps your child to develop immunity to them. As your child gets older, they tend to get sick less often.
Symptoms of common cold and cough in babies and kids
- Running nose
- Sore throat
- Stuffy nose
- Blocked nose
- Loss of appetite
Remedies for Babies under 6 months
1. Breastfeed your baby
Breastfeeding is the first and foremost solution to treat cold and cough for your newborn. In your baby’s first six months, breast milk is the only way to heal your child’s body from any type of problem. Breast milk also improves the immunity of your child to fight against bacteria, germs, and virus.
You can put few drops of breast milk in each nostril of your baby. It will help to cure a cough and cold faster.
Give your toddler a steam bath. Run a hot shower and shut the doors of the bathroom. Sit inside with your kid at least for fifteen minutes before going to bed at night. It will not only help getting rid of cough, but also provides sound sleep. In the morning, repeat the same procedure for 15 minutes. It will loosen nasal and chest congestion, and make it easy for the child to blow the cough out.
3. Ajwain Potli
Ajwain or carom seeds have antiviral and antibacterial properties. Dry roast ajwain on a tava or pan. Put the ajwain in a cotton cloth and make a potli of it. Gently rub it on the baby’s chest, back, under feet and palms.
Make sure the potli is not very hot. First, test the temperature by putting the potli on your wrist. Make sure that the baby must have a single layer of clothing before you start to rub potli on the body.
Caution: Don’t rub it on the naked chest of your baby.
You can place potli near baby’s nose or in baby’s crib so that it can inhale ajwain smell. It is a really helpful remedy to cure baby’s cough.
4. Saline Drops for Blocked Nose
Nasal saline drops are a quick solution to get relief from the blocked nose and nasal congestion in newborns. It’s safe and recommended by paediatrics to use for infants.
Saline drops are actually the salt-based water. Put 1 or 2 drops of saline drops in each nostril to clear the nose. Nasal saline drops loosen up mucus. Use of saline drops makes feeding easier for your baby.
You can elevate your baby’s head while putting in the drops, otherwise, the liquid will flow out.
If your baby has a stuffy and blocked nose then use saline drops or spray. You can easily buy it from the pharmacy. You can also use a bulb syringe to remove mucus from your newborn’s nose.
One can also go for making saline drops at home, just be very careful about hygiene.
5. Garlic Cloves in Mustard Oil
Crush and boil few garlic cloves in mustard oil and apply it externally on your baby’s neck, chest, back, under feet and palms.
This remedy helps to cure cough. Remember, the oil must be warm and not very hot. Mustard oil gives warmth to the body and garlic has antibacterial properties that help to destroy bacteria that cause cold.
6. Mustard Oil Infused with Rock Salt
Mix 1 teaspoon of rock salt (sendha namak / saidhav namak) in warm mustard oil and gently massage on the chest and back of your baby and cover the baby with a cotton sheet or blanket. This mixture gives warmth to your little one’s body.
7. Vicks Vapour Rub
When your baby has a cough and chest congestion, this also creates problems with the child’s sleeping patterns. To let your child sleep peacefully throughout the night, try this quick solution to help your child.
For this, you just need Vicks baby rub and a pair of socks. You just need to rub it on the bottom of your baby’s feet and cover the feet with cotton or woolen socks, depending on the weather. This remedy is recommended for the babies above 4 months of age.
Vicks baby rub allows the airways to open up and thus breaks down mucus. Cooling effect (menthol) of baby rub does the trick with the brain that your baby is not congested and airways are open. So, this remedy is useful to let your baby sleep comfortably without coughing throughout the night.
8. Use a Humidifier
Run a cool-mist humidifier for a night in your child’s room. It will keep the airways of the tot moist and clear. Open the windows in the morning to let humid air go out of the room, otherwise, it may result in the growth of molds.
Remedies for babies above 6 months
Follow all the above remedies in addition with the following remedies.
1. Chicken Soup
Serve warm chicken soup to your kid. According to a research, chicken soup has anti-inflammatory properties that temporarily thin mucus, relieves congestion, soothes throat and reduces cough. It also effectively alleviates the symptoms associated with cold.
Cough can exhaust a child, as it requires a lot of energy to wrestle with an infection. The more your child will rest, the sooner s/he will recover.
Honey soothes throat inflammation in children and suppresses cough, in a natural manner. Dosage hinges on your child’s age. If your tot is 2-5 years old, give ½ teaspoon, and if s/he is more than 12 years old, give 2 teaspoons of honey. It is suggested to give this therapeutic ingredient before bedtime.
- Refrain from giving honey to infants below 1 year as it may cause botulism.
- Avoid buying honey cough syrups from the medical stores, as they contain chemical preservatives which alter its “natural flavor”.
4. Lemon Juice
A combination of 1 teaspoon each of fresh lemon juice and honey in 1 cup of warm water can also work great. Give this solution to your child twice or thrice a day.