cough and cold in infants

Cough and cold in Infants – Symptoms, Causes, and Home Remedies

Cough and cold are common in newborns or infants as their immune system is not fully developed so they can catch infections quickly. There are more than 200 viruses that can cause colds in infants. But most parents get worried when their child gets cold for the first time. Babies can suffer from coughs and colds 8 to 10 times during the first 2 years. If the baby is under 5-6 months and suffering from a severe cold then you must consult a pediatrician as soon as possible.

Symptoms of Cough and Cold in Babies
  • Stuffed or runny noses are most of the common symptoms of cold in infants.
  • Difficulty in breathing, you may hear sounds while the babies breathe.
  • Excessive drooling as they are unable to swallow.
  • Sneezing
  • They may develop fever also.
  • Coughing may increase at night.
  • They will refuse to feed due to stuffy noses.
  • Severe headache.
Causes
  • As already explained, a newborn baby’s immune system is not fully developed so they can have infections quickly. 
  • When they come in contact with older children who already have a cold.
  • Frequent visits to the doctor’s clinic.
  • Change in weather. If the weather is too hot or too cold then also they can have a cold.
Home Remedies to Cure Cough and Cold
Keep your baby hydrated

Offer plenty of fluids to the baby. If the baby is under 6 months then offer him breast milk after every 2 hours. Or if he is on formula then you can also give formula milk. If the baby is above 6 months old then you can offer him sips of water also after every hour.

Steaming –

It is one of the best and most effective home remedies to cure a baby’s cough and cold. You can sit with your baby in a bathroom with a closed door and run hot water from the taps. Steam inhalation will lose the mucus and will clear the nasal passage.

Saline drops –

As the baby’s nose is so tiny that it cannot be cleared easily. So in that case saline drops can be used which works by thinning out the congestion and helps in clearing congestion.

Nose cleaner or nasal aspirator

Nasal aspirators are easily available at drug stores as well as online. These work better if used in combination with saline drops. When saline drops will lose the mucus then after a nasal aspirator can be used to clear the nose.

Keep their head elevated

When the newborn or infant is suffering from nose or chest congestion then to stop the mucus to fall into the throat, you can elevate their heads when they are sleeping. You can place a pillow or towel or any other cotton cloth below their head to keep them elevated.

Massage with warm mustard oil –

Heat mustard oil with 2-3 garlic cloves and carrom seeds. Then apply this infused oil to the baby’s chest, feet, and hand nails. Turn off the ac and fan for atleast half an hour after doing the massage.

Rest is another effective cure for colds. Whenever your baby wants to sleep, let him sleep. By taking proper sleep he will get better.

How to prevent cough and cold in infants or newborns

It is always said that prevention is better than cure. Below are some tips which you can follow to prevent your child from cold and cough.

  • Never let your baby come in contact with older children or people who already have a cold.
  • Always wash your hands when you clean your baby’s nose.
  • Wash baby’s toys from time to time as they put toys or even hands in their mouth from where they can catch the infection.
  • Ask everyone to wash or sanitize their hands before holding the baby.
  • Try to keep the baby for the first few months at home and in a separate room.

Cough and colds get cured on their own, no medicine is required to treat them and it usually lasts for 10 days. Medicine or antibiotics are only required if the baby is suffering from flu or pneumonia which is an adverse effect of a cold. So it’s better to take the doctor’s advice from time to time. In some cases, blood tests are also required to rule out any serious problems. If you see any of the following symptoms in your baby then call your doctor:

  • Vomiting 
  • Diarrhea
  • Persistent cough
  • Unusual sound while crying
  • Fever
  • Difficulty in breathing
  • Loss of appetite
  • Signs of dehydration – chapped lips or pee count is less than 6 times in a day

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