Let us confess – don’t we all feel good when it starts pouring right in the middle of a hot, sunny day? Or when the warm weather gives way to cold winters? However, we often ignore the illnesses like cough and cold that come with such seasonal changes; illnesses that also spread easily. Kids usually become the first victims of cold and cough due to various reasons like weak immunity, playing in unhygienic surroundings, or even plain negligence. It’s particularly hard on them when it affects their sleep quality due to a blocked nose, making them fussy with food too. And this condition of theirs can break any parent’s heart. Yet, they might not wish to try medications such as cough syrups or cold medications that might interfere with their developing immunity. So, if your child is down with a cough or cold and you wish to treat it naturally, here’s a list of home remedies to help your child out:
For Cough And Cold Symptoms
The good old haldi wala doodh is a go-to natural remedy to ward off cough and cold. Turmeric has natural antibacterial, antiviral, and antifungal properties (1). It helps in reducing cough as well as cold symptoms. Mix it with warm milk and give it to your little kiddo. The nutrients present in the milk will also help your child stay rejuvenated if they have a blocked nose and don’t feel like eating solids. However, avoid giving turmeric milk to babies under one year. For them, breast milk should be enough.
You can give 2 to 5 ml of honey to your kids over one year for relief from cough. Honey is believed to help in loosening and thinning of the mucus, thereby providing cough relief (2).
Ginger Or Cinnamon Milk
Apart from turmeric, adding extracts of ginger or cinnamon has also been found to be beneficial in relieving symptoms of cold and cough. Ginger and cinnamon are loaded with antioxidant properties (3). Research has found that the compounds in the extract of fresh ginger inhibit bacterial growth and fight the common cause of respiratory infections – the human respiratory syncytial virus (HRSV) (4).
Similar research conducted on cinnamic aldehyde, the active compound present in cinnamon, concluded that its antibacterial and antifungal properties might help in treating respiratory tract infections caused by fungi (5).
For Blocked Nose
One of the major irritants of a common cold infection is blocked nose which makes babies and children fussy. Getting rid of it makes half your job easier in treating the condition. Here are simple home remedies that you can apply to help your child.
Nasal Bulb Suction: Kids, especially babies, have a hard time cleaning their noses if they have a runny nose. This can harden the mucus causing the nostrils to get blocked. If the mucus is still runny, then try to suction it out by gently using a nasal bulb syringe for your baby. For older kids, ask them to blow their nose.
Warm Water Cleansing: If the mucous has hardened and formed a crust around your child’s nose, then use warm water cleansing. Dip a clean cotton pad or a ball of cotton roll in warm water. Gently dab it around the affected area first. After a minute or so, gently wipe it out and clear the nose. Do not use Q-Tips or earbuds for clearing the nostrils.
Normal Saline Drops: Normal saline drops are nothing but hygienic saltwater. It is easily available over the counter at any pharmaceutical store. You can put 2 – 3 drops in each of your baby or child’s nostril. It is especially helpful for infants and babies since they cannot blow their nose. It helps in loosening the hardened mucus and clearing the blocked air passages.
Steam Inhalation And Humidifier: There are other ways to loosen out the dried mucus in your child’s nose. You can ask your child to inhale warm steam through a steamer. For kids younger than 2 years, you’ll need to make them sit in your lap and position them in the direction of the steam.
If the air inside your home seems to be dry, having a humidifier helps in moistening it. This ensures that the accumulated mucus in your child’s chest and nose remains loose and eventually drains out of the nose.
Following these simple home remedies should be sufficient to help your child during a bout of cold and cough. Do treat your child patiently as these symptoms will take time to wean. However, if your child’s condition doesn’t improve and seems to cause more distress, visit the pediatrician immediately.