Cold and cough is a common problem among infants and toddlers causing a serious concern amongst parents. A lot of parents across the globe prefer traditional homemade remedies, alternative treatment/medicine in lieu of antibiotics as a prevention measure.
Below are a few effective and traditional homemade remedies to prevent common cold in infants and toddlers.
Cough & Cold Remedies for 0-6 Months Child
There is no better remedy than breastfeeding your child as it is loaded with antibodies. It also helps in reducing the nasal secretions and flushes them out easily.
Garlic & Carom Seeds (Ajwain) Pouch
Garlic and carom seeds are potent cold remedies and are used in alternative medicines. Put two dry roasted cloves of garlic and carom seeds in a soft muslin cloth and place it near the area where the baby sleeps. The smell of it helps in clearing the blocked nose. Alternatively, you can rub the pouch under the baby’s feet. This method is effective in clearing congestion.
Drumstick Leaves Hair Oil
This is an old wives’ tale remedy. Drumsticks leaves are boiled with half a cup of coconut oil. Once the leaves are wilted the oil is ready to be used as hair oil during cold and cough.
Take some saffron and make a paste of it. Apply the same on baby’s soles and forehead overnight. Saffron helps in absorbing the accumulated water in the forehead making the baby feel relaxed.
Mustard Oil Massage
Massaging the baby makes her feel relaxed and eases out the body pains and discomfort. Prepare the baby massage oil at home by heating some garlic and carom seeds until they are brown. Do not let them get burned. Cool the oil and massage the baby. She would feel relaxed and have a good sleep.
Heat a few teaspoons of camphor along with a pinch of coconut oil. Gently apply this to your child’s chest and massage. It works as magic during the cold.
When your child is young to blow her nose, saline drops can be given to clear the blocked nose. Alternatively, a bulb syringe can be used to pull out the mucus from the nose.
Elevating the Head
Elevating the head upwards of a baby can help in breathing. While your child takes rest, raise her head by putting extra pillows underneath.
Cough & Cold Remedies for 6-12 Months Child
Lady finger Soup
Boil finely chopped lady’s finger in water for 10 minutes. Strain, cool and give it as a soup to get rid of cold.
Juice extracted from fresh carrots, diluted with boiled water at room temperature is found to be effective against cold and cough.
Steam the panikoorka leaves and give 1/2 teaspoon to babies. It acts as a natural expectorant.
Take some tulsi/basil leaves, add honey to it and make a paste of it. Let your child have it. You can boil the leaves too. This acts as an expectorant and helps clearing the cough and fights cold.
Grind an onion and dilute it before giving your baby a few teaspoons of it. Onion clears congestion, but also will fight the cold and heal a fever in an infant.
Jaggery, Cumin & Black Pepper
A mixture of jaggery, cumin, black pepper in warm water is very much effective for cold, cough and sore throat in babies.
Tomato & Garlic
Tomato and garlic are first steamed together and then pureed and brought to a simmer. Cumin can be added as seasoning to make this more potent. But, remember to filter the cumin before you give it your baby.
Use nutmeg powder in baby food. It not only adds flavours to the food but cures cold too.
Breathing moist or humid air helps loosen the mucus in the nose. Also, a warm bath will help. To moisten the air, you can get a humidifier, steamer or a cool-mist vaporizer.
Mince three cloves of fresh garlic and place them into a jar filled with boiling water and cover for 30 minutes. Strain garlic and add the juice of one whole lemon to it. It can be sweetened with honey or maple syrup too.
Cough & Cold Remedies for Child Above 12 Months
For babies above one year you can follow the remedies mentioned above along with the following ones:
Let your baby lick of 1 teaspoon plain honey. It helps to soothe her irritated throat.
Ghee or Clarified Butter
Ghee treats dry cough effectively. Heat 2 to 3 tablespoons of ghee and add a few peppercorns. Crush or grind the mixture and give your baby a little of it through the day.
It adds aroma and flavour to food but treats persistent cold too. Add honey with cinnamon powder and give this to your child. Cinnamon is known for its antioxidant properties.
Ginger and honey
Grate ginger and add honey to it. It helps to soothe the throat, respiratory tract and provides relief from cough.
Lemon Juice and honey
Mix lemon juice and honey. Add a little warm water & give your baby to drink.
This is one of the ancient Indian homemade remedies for quick relief from cough. Take milk in a vessel and add a pinch of turmeric in it. Let it boil for some time and once done cool it before feeding your baby. Turmeric milk soothes the throat and relaxes your child.
Ginger coffee can be given to a toddler to get rid of the cold. Boil one cup of water and add cardamom, pepper pods, one clove, 2-3 basil leaves and some slices of ginger in it. Boil it for five minutes and strain. Let your child have the drink. It has high medicinal benefits and cures cold quickly.
You can let your baby inhale eucalyptus oil for a few minutes. It immediately clears nose blockages and helps in breathing. It is effective in removing chest congestion too.
Let your child gargle with warm salt water. This remedy is effective in treating a sore throat and clearing the mucus. Let your child spit the water rather than swallowing it.
Feed your baby with warm soup – vegetable/chicken/tomato to help her regain her immunity and boost her energy levels.
Rub a thick layer of regular Vicks on the soles of your child’s feet and cover with socks. It is effective for dry coughs that keep kids and parents up all night.
Neti pot/jala neti pot
It is a cleansing technique which flushes a mild saline solution through the nostrils. Some researchers have found that saline nasal wash solutions help to relieve cold symptoms. Traditional Chinese medicine diagnoses specific stages in colds and the flu to identify the nature and the course of herbal medication.
Pear Tea Recipe
Simmer a snow pear or Asian pear in boiled water for about 15 minutes. Add ginger slices and tangerine or pomelo peel while simmering (fresh) in case you have a lot of clear to light white phlegm. If it is a dry cough or dry throat, skip this step. Drink the tea for better results.
Clear broth soups full of vegetables and some form of protein is excellent in general. If a child has Wind-Cold symptoms (more chills than fever, stuffy nose with nasal discharge, cough with white, thin sputum) offer them tangerine tea, ginger soup or leek-ginger-egg soup. If a child has what we call Wind Heat symptoms (sore throat, cough with yellowish, sticky sputum, more fever than chills, thirst), offer them Chinese barley (job’s tear) and mung bean soup, mint green tea or daikon radish soup.
A vaporizer or humidifier in your child’s room keeps your child’s skin and lungs hydrated.
Eucalyptus or Lavender Oil
Drop a few eucalyptus oil while taking a bath. It opens the sinuses and eases stress in children.
Let your child wear cotton socks dampened with lemon water. The lemon will pull the fever away from the body through the feet and the cool, damp socks will also aid in this effect.
Every child is different and what works for one child might not be appropriate for the other. It is always advisable to start with small doses of such alternative treatments and stop the same in case of any allergy or reaction.
In case the cold and cough persists for more than 2 days, consult a doctor.
NOTE: These traditional methods are effective but cannot replace medical consultation.