We all know how miserable colds can be. A dry cough, trouble breathing, fever, and stuffy nose are all symptoms we may have experienced with a cold. But, imagine how much worse it would be as a baby. No way to communicate your specific discomfort or needs. No understanding of what's going on. No capacity to even do something as simple as blowing your runny nose. Poor baby!
Statistics show infants (especially those in daycare) have an average of 6-10 colds a year. Add in the flu, and you're looking at a couple months of sick days every year! Before you build a sterile bubble for your little one to live in, try these easy tips for preventing and treating a common cold to help your young child feel symptom-free again.
- Keep your hands clean.
Frequent hand washing is the most effective way to cut down on colds, flus, and respiratory distress in infants. Unless you’re a germaphobe, you should probably be washing your hands more—and better. Use a simple, safe hand soap (antibacterials are unnecessary and actually pose their own risks) and rub hands vigorously for 15-20 seconds. An easy way to ensure you’re doing it long enough is to sing the ABCs a couple of times—now it’s a learning moment for your baby, too.
And, speaking of your little one, wash her hands as well. Think of how often those little mitts end up in her mouth! When you can’t get to a sink, use a safe hand sanitizer—something plant-based without toxic additives or synthetic questionables. (Note: Hand sanitizers are only effective on relatively clean hands, they can’t cut through dirt. Use baby wipes to rub off any dirt first.) That’s right, baby wipe uses don’t just stop at cleaning your baby’s bottom. When you can’t get your hands on hand sanitizer, reach for our baby wipes to help wipe off your hands in a hurry.
- Keep your house clean.
I think it goes without saying that we can all appreciate any room cleaning hacks that help us get the job done faster. But don’t worry, you don’t need to sterilize every surface with an all purpose cleaner to avoid a viral infection or bacterial infection. According to pediatrician Dr. Alan Greene, “In a number of different fascinating studies, researchers have carefully cultured every imaginable surface of typical homes to find where the disease-causing germs live. It turns out that the kitchen harbors more germs than any other room in the home — yes, more than the bathroom.
“The greatest concentration is found in the moist germ havens we call kitchen sponges and dishcloths.” Greene says microwaving these items for 2 minutes is the most effective way of sterilizing them, and it will go a long way towards preventing infections. For most other surfaces, cleaning, as usual, should suffice (choose natural, non-toxic cleaners to create the safest home for your young child and you!).
- Make some steam.
Dr. Sears recommends “steam cleaning.” He says, “Give your young child steam, steam, and more steam. For infants and young children, turn the bathroom into a steam room with the door closed and the shower turned all the way hot. Sit in there for 10 or 15 minutes.” The warm mist helps loosen excess mucus and congestion, and relieves some of the discomforts of common colds such as difficulty breathing, a sore throat, or a dry cough.
- Make some saline.
Saline drops help dilute the excess mucus, which helps keep your child’s nasal passage clear. For homemade saline drops, dissolve 1/2 teaspoon of salt in 8 ounces of warm water. (Discard within 24 hours to avoid bacterial contamination.) Put 2-3 drops in each nostril and use a bulb syringe or a BabyComfyNose Nasal Aspirator to suction out the saline and mucous. (Note: Don't suction more than a few times a day or you might irritate the lining of the congested or runny nose. Don't use saline drops for more than four days in a row.)
- Cuddle and rest and cuddle some more.
Being sick with a sore throat, stuffy nose, and persistent cough is miserable, and extra love and attention are the perfect prescriptions to distract your child from the discomfort of aches and stuffiness. Cuddling also helps your baby relax and rest, which is imperative to healing from respiratory distress. Try reading books, listening to quiet music, and maybe even a little baby massage with some soothing, natural body oil to help with the uncomfortable symptoms.
As parents, we want the best for our babies. Whether your baby is struggling with a persistent cough, a runny nose, trouble breathing, a sore throat, or even an ear infection that came as a result of the cold, we feel your angst to help get your baby back to a healthy state, which is why we've created a community for parents to share their tips and tricks for soothing a baby's cold symptoms. What are your favorite infant remedies, and how do you treat an infant cough or cold in your home?
Discuss in the comments below!
This information is solely for informational purposes. IT IS NOT INTENDED TO PROVIDE MEDICAL ADVICE. Before undertaking any course of treatment, you should seek the advice of your physician or other health care provider.
We aim to provide you with the most honest and credible information possible. This article was reviewed for accuracy by The Honest Team and was written based on trusted sources that are linked at the bottom of the article.
We aim to provide you with the most honest and credible information possible. This article was reviewed for accuracy by The Honest Team and was written based on trusted sources that are linked at the bottom of the article.blog_review_statement