Dealing with the Common Cold in 7 Easy Steps

#1 Rest

When the body is run-down by an illness such as the common cold, sleep is its natural way of healing. You can rock your baby or try putting them in a bouncer with calming vibrations to help them sleep. For toddlers who are a little harder to keep still, let them watch a favorite movie in bed or give them some activities they can do while lying on the couch such as coloring or reading books.

#2 Fluids

It is very important, especially in infants, to avoid dehydration. Giving your child (6 months and older) extra fluids also aids in thinning out mucous secretions. Offer healthy beverages such as 100% juice (which also contains a good source of vitamin C) or popsicles and encourage them to drink plenty of water. For babies younger than 6 months stick to just breast milk or formula as babies this young do not need water or other drinks.

#3 Humidifier

Moist air will help your child fight the common cold by loosening mucous in nasal passages. You can use a humidifier or cool-mist vaporizer in your child’s room. A warm, steamy bath can also help as well as relax your child. If you like to take hot showers, bring your baby in the bathroom with you so they can breathe in the steamy air (be sure they are in a seat that is safe such as a bouncer so they aren’t crawling around or getting into things while you are in the shower)

#4 Saline Drops and Bulb Syringe

It is likely most parents’ least favorite thing to do but using saline drop and a bulb syringe will help loosen and clear out the gunk in your child’s nose when they are too little to blow. Use a saline solution and apply a few drops in each nostril with your baby or child’s head back. Wait a few seconds then use the bulb syringe to suction out the mucus. You can also use just the syringe without saline drops for runny noses.

#5 Vapor Rub

Applying a mentholated, eucalyptus rub on babies older than 3 months may help them breathe better at night. There are baby-safe versions you can buy at most drug stores that do not contain petroleum or paraben. Massage onto your child’s chest, neck, and back (not in the mouth or near the nostrils) This may sound odd but another technique many parents swear by is massaging the rub onto baby’s feet and put socks over to keep them from rubbing it off. I have actually tried this before as well. Perhaps it’s because there are many nerve endings in the feet and the mentholated rub gets absorbed into the body. Who knows, but it works.

#6 Elevating the Head

Both of my kids always slept better in an incline anyway, but a sick child may be able to breathe better and sleep more comfortably with their head elevated. For children, place an extra pillow underneath their head. For babies or squirmy children, try elevating the head of the mattress by placing extra pillows, a rolled towel or a wedge.

#7 Honey

For children over the age of 1, honey is a great natural remedy for a cough. It has actually been found better than cough syrups to help tame nighttime coughing. To make it a little softer, you can heat it in a microwave safe container for a few seconds. Give your child ½ teaspoon of honey. You can give it to them a few times throughout the day. Just remember that honey should not be given to infants younger than 12 months.

These are a few safe remedies you can try to help your baby or child feel better while fighting off the common cold. If you think your child’s illness is more serious or it worsens after a few days do not hesitate to call your doctor.

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