11 Effective Home Remedies for Cold and Runny Nose in Kids
Cough and cold season is probably the most dreaded season for parents. It is because there is no cure for cold than letting it take its due course, which for young children, babies and toddlers means constant irritation, crying and sleeplessness owing to blocked airways. Thankfully, there are some tried and tested home remedies that can help you during such cold onslaughts. Some of them are given below.
Home Remedies For Cold and Runny Nose
A bulb syringe can be used to suck the mucus out of the nose of the child and help babies breathe easily. Do take care to clean the syringe thoroughly after each use.
Salt water is helpful to remove dried mucus from the nose. You can prepare the solution by mixing ½ teaspoon salt to ½ cup of warm water. Using a syringe or a dropper, put 2-3 drops in each nostril. Let it stay for a minute and then ask your child to blow the nose or use a cloth to blow and remove the mucus from your infant’s nose yourself. It also helps alleviate blocked nose.
There are saline solutions available in stores too with easy to drop nozzles. However, this home remedy solution can be easily prepared at home whenever your baby feels uncomfortable. Do it 3-4 times a day or whenever there is difficulty in breathing because of blocked nose.
Hot drink is therapeutic when it comes to cold, whatever be the age of the person. A 2009 study found that the traditional advice of drinking a hot soup or tea during cold is indeed beneficial as it helps reduce the cold symptoms by stimulating a nerve linked to the oral and nasal cavities thus bringing a sense of relief.
In children too, a hot drink like a clear soup, lentil water, green tea can help them breathe easy when suffering from a runny nose. Try helping them drink as warm as possible to get the maximum benefit.
Even if your baby is not taking any hot liquid, it is still beneficial to increase their fluid intake. Fluids in the body help expel the mucus faster and relieve the symptoms fastly. Breathing through the mouth also causes dehydration and may lead to parched throat. It is therefore all the more necessary to keep giving baby something to drink every couple of hours. Warm water, warm fluids work best.
The idea is to heat water and inhale the vapour by covering yourself with a cloth so that the steam cannot escape. Some people add herbs, vaporubs or essential oils to the water to heighten the effect. However, if you are using this for your infant or toddler, it is best only to use water and steam. A 2015 study showed that people who use hot steams during cold bouts felt better earlier than those who did not.
Here is a tip for young babies who won’t stay near a steamer or vaporiser. Dip a thick cotton cloth or a bath towel in hot water. Wring out the water completely. But slight steam would still come out from the towel. When the baby is asleep, hold this warm wringed towel underneath the baby’s nose. Take care not to touch the baby and scald her. Also ensure hot water doesn’t drip from the towel.
If your baby is too young to sit and take hot steam, you can also help them take a hot bath to relieve from the symptoms of cold and help open the blocked nose. In the baby’s tub pour some warm water and either give them a direct bath or rub a towel soaked in the warm water around their body. Gently also blow the nose after the bath. The dried mucus will come out, clearing their nose.
Soft, Oiled Tissues
One of the side effects of a runny nose is the constant wiping. With it comes dry, rashy skin around the nose. In children, who have much more sensitive skin than us, this only adds to their irritability. To avoid such skin rashes and heal the skin, use tissues that are soft and have been dipped in essential oil such as peppermint oil. You can add a drop of oil into a cup of water and then dip a soft tissue or handkerchief in it, before using it to rub the nose of your child.
The use of oil will also relax the child and help breathe easily. You can also rub petroleum jelly around the baby’s nose if the skin starts becoming patchy and dry.
Ginger and Honey
For toddlers and slightly older kids, you can give them a concoction of grated ginger and honey 2-3 times a day to make their body heal faster. Do not give honey to babies younger than 1 year.
Mustard Oil Massage
If you ask your grandparents, the first advise they would give for alleviating symptoms of cold and cough or a runny nose would be to give a warm mustard oil massage.
Heat a table spoon of mustard oil with a pinch of asafoetida or ginger, allow it to cool a bit and rub on your child’s chest, palm, feet and back. The warm oil helps relieve congestion and induces sleep.
Coconut oil and Camphor
Again, a time-tested home remedy that works wonders to fight a runny nose. Mix a piece of camphor in coconut oil and warm it and apply on your baby’s chest, back and neck for relief
Stay at home
It seems like an odd tip, but during cough and cold, it is best that your child stays indoor. Immunity generally goes down when children suffer from viral infection. So, chances of catching secondary infection from outside is not negligible.
Also, at home, you can easily provide the warm conditions that you might not be able to manage outside, or while traveling.
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Advantages of a home remedy
- Safe and without any side effects
- Do not cost a thing as work around easily available ingredients and products at home
- Do not need doctor consultation like allopathic medicines
If your baby does not feel better even after these home remedies or if the conditions seem to remain the same accompanied by fever, it is best to visit a doctor and take their advice. If you are already giving medication for the infection, it is still okay to use these home remedies for relief and to help your child sleep better.