Naturally Treat Your Child’s Cough with These 8 Tips
It is estimated that babies will get a cold once a month, and considering they can last for some time, it can begin to seem like your little one is always unwell. This is because, despite all babies being born with a level of immunity to some illnesses, it does take a while for their immune systems to mature, which can leave them susceptible to viruses like the common cold.
Although colds in newborns, babies and young children are common and not usually dangerous, they do have the potential to develop into more serious conditions, such as pneumonia and croup. If your child or baby has a temperature, please ensure that you take them to a doctor, as this is a sign of an infection; however, there are some effective and natural cold treatments that you can try at home to ensure that your little one is back to feeling like themselves in no time at all.
Here are just some of the most effective treatments.
Ensure that they are getting the right rest
Although this is just as important at any age, this is mainly aimed at older children, as it is easier to get a baby to rest since they need so much more sleep anyway. However; your child requires energy to fight off their illness, to ensure that they are getting the rest that they need.
Make sure they are comfortable and give them quiet activities that will keep them occupied so they are not tempted to get up, but some that will not exert too much energy. Let them watch their favourite film perhaps, or give them a colouring book.
Ensure that they are drinking plenty of water
If your baby is over six months old, you can give them small, but frequent sips of tap water, which will help to ease symptoms such as a sore throat.
Often, with babies and children, one of the biggest problems is that they cannot clear excess mucus, which makes it troublesome for them to breathe etc. So, as well as keeping them hydrated and soothing a sore throat, a regular intake of water will also help to soften any thickened mucus.
Use a nasal aspirator or a saline nasal spray
This is ideal for infants who cannot blow their nose. When they have a cold, their nose becomes full of thick mucus, which they cannot get rid of, so it makes breathing very difficult for them.
You can help to relieve this for them, and help them (and you!) to get a good nights sleep, by dropping some saline drops into each nostril, before using a nasal aspirator, which is a hygienic and sanitary way of sucking the mucus from your baby’s nose.
This can be repeated as often as required, but do be sure to thoroughly clean and disinfect the aspirator after each use, to ensure that you do not spread infection.
Raise them when they sleep
This can be applied to children and babies of all ages. Just like we have said, when a child or baby has a common cold, they will have a lot of mucus build up in their nose, which can make breathing very difficult indeed.
Propping them up when they sleep will relieve pressure from their sinuses, and will help to ease their breathing. With younger infants, this can be done by placing a pillow or a sleep positioner underneath the baby’s mattress or sheet; never in the cot with them to avoid suffocation. With older children, you can simply give them another pillow to help raise them up a bit.
Use steam inhalation
Making the air moist in their bedroom will again help to loosen the mucus that is trapped in the nasal packages. Although as adults, we might suffer from a debilitating sore throat with a cold, the worst for babies and children, is their nose becoming blocked because it makes breathing so much harder and they cannot clear this effectively for themselves as we can as adults.
Try using a humidifier or a cool-mist vaporiser in their bedroom whilst they are sleeping, or if you do not have access to them, give them a warm bath, or run a hot shower for a few minutes to create steam, and let them play in the bathroom for about fifteen minutes before they go to bed.
If you are using a humidifier though, make sure that you clean it every day to prevent mould and bacteria from growing in it, as this can then pollute the air, causing much more serious illnesses.
Give them warm foods
Try giving your infant or child warm food, such as freshly prepared baby porridge.
This is effective at soothing sore throats, and reduce the risk of coughing, all of which will help to alleviate the irritation that is caused by the above, and the constant runny nose that they experience.
Give them plenty of fresh fruit and vegetables
Fresh fruit and vegetables are really high in antioxidants which will help to build up resistance against common cold viruses.
Both vitamin A and C are great for boosting the immune system, which will really help your baby or child, especially when they are suffering from a cold.
For babies older than 12 months, citrus fruits are a really great way of topping up their vital vitamins.
Give them honey
Honey is a really great natural remedy for soothing a cough that is often associated with a common cold; however, it is not suitable for children under the age of one. Giving honey to a child under the age of one is incredibly dangerous and can make them really unwell.
This remedy can be given as often as required, but give no more than half a teaspoon at a time. If you give them honey before bedtime though, make sure that you clean their teeth afterwards to avoid causing tooth decay.