When your infant or young baby has a runny nose due to the common cold, you usually don't need to rush to the doctor's office. Dr. Amna Husain, a board-certified paediatrician and AAP Media Spokesperson explains "Cold weather can cause temporary runny noses, especially in dry winter air. Typically, cold viruses last around 10 days, and runny noses associated with them often persist for just a day or two."
For infants and young babies, using over-the-counter cold medicines isn't recommended, as they can be harmful. However, there are some natural remedies that can help alleviate your little one's discomfort.
10 Home Remedies to Treat Common Colds in Babies
- Provide Plenty of Fluids: Keeping your baby well-hydrated can help thin the mucus and relieve a stuffy nose. Offer breast milk or formula regularly and avoid sugary drinks like sodas and juices.
- Use a Bulb Syringe: Infants can't blow their noses, so using a bulb syringe to suction out mucus can be helpful. Gently squeeze the bulb and insert a small amount into one nostril to clear the mucus. Please don't overdo it otherwise you will end up causing harm to the baby's nostrils.
- Saline Drops: Saline nasal drops can help loosen thick mucus, making it easier for your baby to breathe. You can find over-the-counter saline drops or make your own by mixing 1/2 teaspoon of table salt with 1 cup of warm water.
- Elevate the Head: Elevating your baby's head while sleeping can encourage better mucus drainage and improved breathing. Always make your child sleep with elevated lead when she is having. common cold.
- Run a Humidifier: A cool-mist humidifier can add moisture to the air, which can be beneficial for relieving cough and congestion. Avoid using steam or hot water humidifiers directly to avoid burns. If your child can take the team, try steaming otherwise, run a humidifier to get rid of dry air.
- Honey (for babies over 1 year): If your child is over a year old, a small amount of honey can help soothe a nighttime cough. Ensure it's safe to give honey to your child and consider adding ginger juice or tulsi with honey for added relief. Tulsi or Holy Basil acts as a very good cold-treating agent. No honey for infants (younger than 12 months)
- Vaseline or Petroleum Jelly: Gently wiping away excess nasal mucus and applying soothing petroleum jelly can help if your baby's skin becomes red or irritated.
- Jaiphal(Nutmeg): Jaiphal, commonly known as nutmeg, has been used in traditional Indian medicine for centuries to treat various ailments. This versatile spice is known for its anti-inflammatory and analgesic properties, making it an effective remedy for treating cough, cold, and constipation in babies. Add a pinch of jaiphal(nutmeg) to a few spoons of milk boil it and give it to the child.
- Give a warm bath: A warm bath will help your child relax. This is because breathing moist or humid air helps loosen the mucus in the nose and helps him/her feel relaxed. So if your child doesn't like taking steam, give her a warm water bath.
- Applying Vaporubs on feet: These rubs are controversial; some say yes to them, and some say no. For babies over 3 months old, a parent can apply Vicks BabyRub to the feet and cover them with cotton socks. There is no scientific evidence that this is effective, however, I have tried them on my child and loved the results.
Remember to contact your paediatrician in the following situations:
- If your baby is younger than 3 months and has a rectal temperature of 100.4°F or higher.
- If your baby is fussy, not drinking, or exhibits symptoms like ear pain, breathing difficulties, or a persistent cough.
- If your baby's runny nose and mucus last beyond 10-14 days.
Always prioritize your baby's well-being and consult with a healthcare professional when in doubt or if you're concerned about your child's symptoms.