It’s another brutal snow day here in the North East. And flu/cold season is in full swing. My little one has now been sick for about 11 days straight. He started out with a fever, which we then found out was the precursor to Roseola (a rash/virus combo) which then transitioned into Croup’s cough + fever. He is finally recovering, but still fighting a severe cough and runny nose, especially at night. So, yes it’s been a heck of a cold season here to say the least.
After trying a variety of treatments to fight the virus/cold, and following the doctor’s orders without much success, I decided to end the frustration and ask around to see what worked for other moms.
Here is a compilation of what they said and therefore on my must-try cold remedies list for infants and toddlers. (Note: Always check with your doctor first before administering any medicines.)
If your child starts out with a fever (usually 101 or above is a good indicator) stock up on some Tylenol/acetaminophen. This will help bring down the high temperature and alleviate any pain. Infants Tylenol is what you’ll need for children under 2 years of age. (You can read my post about tylenol as a must-have travel item.)
2. Cool-Mist Humidifier
The first thing the doctor will probably tell you when treating a cold/cough is to use a humidifier. A humidifier moistens dry winter air and acts as a great natural decongestant, especially overnight when a cough can peak. Sometimes there is confusion regarding a cool-mist vs warm-mist, but most will recommend a cool-mist since it is safer than having hot water in a child’s room.
Hot water vaporizers work similarly to the cool-mist humidifiers, but release steam heat instead and often come with menthol vapors which help loosen up mucus. If you go with this option, keep an eye out to prevent burns.
4. Saline Nose Drops
Saline nose drops are a must for both dry AND runny noses. I used these drops when my son suffered from colds as an infant and continue to do so as he grows. Saline solution is simply a combo of salt and water that soothes inflamed nasal tissues and loosens mucus. While saline drops help baby breath better and can treat the symptoms of a cold, they do not shorten the lifespan of a virus…so a cold can go on for several days after usage.
5. Bulb Syringe
Everyone knows a baby or young toddler can’t really blog their own nose. That’s where a bulb syringe comes into play. The bulb helps suck out the clogged mucus in nasal passages to help with breathing. However, sometimes you’ll need to squeeze some of the saline spray in before using one to make sure you aren’t irritating them.
6. Hyland’s Cough Syrup
Okay so this one may be a little controversial. Most doctors advise against giving children under the age of 4 any type of cough medicine. Apparently there aren’t effective medicines at this age and it’s also safer for a baby’s body to work up an immunity. While I agree with this, it can be frustrating to just sit and watch your little one deal with spasmodic coughs. I do know that there are other doctors who therefore suggest a homeopathic cough syrup like Hyland’s. It’s gentle enough for coughs in babies, but only helps with a basic to mild cough associated with the common cold (usually won’t do much for the severe kind like Croups).
7. Vick’s BabyRub
A lot of moms I asked said they swore by Vick’s Vapor Rub (baby version) to help fight a nasty cold. Vick’s contains natural fragrances of eucalyptus, rosemary and lavender that can act as soothing agents to calm a fussy baby. Just rub a bit on baby’s back or chest to provide relief.
8. Steamed Showers
Similar to the humidifiers and vaporizers I mentioned, steamed showers can work great for croupy coughs. Ten to fifteen minutes near a steamy hot shower will loosen chest congestion and help relieve a severe cough.
9. Plenty of Fluids
May seem like a no-brainer, but we can often forget that hydration is key during cold season. Fluids thin mucus secretions and keeps baby better-equipped to fight off germs and infection. It’s also important to note, that whatever type of milk baby is drinking should be continued, especially if they have a lose of appetite.
Sometimes the best remedy is simply giving your sick child plenty of tender love and care. The poor things often become lethargic and need snuggles more than ever. Extra hugs and time with mommy can at least provide some reassurance that all is okay.
Hope this list will help provide your little one’s some relief this winter. I tried all of the above remedies and happy my little man is finally recovering from a tough cold season!
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Ana, a mom to three rambunctious little boys, has supported thousands of women throughout their pregnancy and motherhood journey since 2012 as a prenatal and postpartum educator at MommysBundle.com.