When young children get sick, it’s easy to panic and head straight for the doctor’s office, which could mean endless waiting in stuffy rooms full of sick people, often exposing you to even more germs and possible illness. Babies get restless and become distressed and this diminishes their potential to heal. While it is imperative to seek medical assistance when fever or infection needs attention, common symptoms like stuffy and runny noses, persistent coughs, and even mild fevers can be treated at home with natural remedies.
Here are 4 natural treatments to consider.
1. Good hygiene
You can start with clean noses and hands. Sometimes, runny noses will drip like taps all day long, and if they rub the mucus into their eyes, it can easily cause an infection like pink eye. It’s tedious, but stock up on tissues and wipe their noses whenever needed. Older children can be taught to do it for themselves and babies older than one will learn to instinctively blow if you squeeze their nose gently to get the mucus out. Wash your own hands frequently with soap and water and clean little hands regularly too. Again, young children love water play and will quickly learn how to do it for themselves. Most importantly is washing after using the toilet, outdoor play, and before meals.
Saline sprays and droppers can be purchased over the counter and they are a very effective and non-medicated natural way to unblock tiny noses. Use saline occasionally to relieve stuffiness, particularly before sleep, during a day nap, or at bedtime. Saline will thin out mucus and also cause them to sneeze out the muck. Some come with a rubber and plastic sucker that you place at the nostril to pump out the mucus. It is very effective on newborns and small infants who are unable to cooperate by blowing.
3. Vaporizers and steam therapy
Congestion can be eased with steam and vapor. Newborns and young babies can be placed in a safe chair on the floor or a bassinet in the bathroom while you take a hot shower. The steamed-up room can alleviate their discomfort immensely while you take your shower! To bring down a fever, a cooler bath or wet facecloth over their body can work.
Vaporizers can be purchased with accompanying aromatherapy oils. They will often contain oils such as Eucalyptus or Lemon, the fragrance of which can help to relieve blocked noses and stuffy chests. The best time to use them is during the night while the babies are sleeping, and most will switch off automatically.
4. Hot honey and lemon/lime
Older children, over a year old, can drink a combination of cooled hot water with honey and lemon or lime. Just a gentle squeeze of the fruit with a teaspoon of honey and this soothing drink can help to clear congestion naturally, and it has quite a pleasant taste. The lemon and lime are effective at killing bacteria in the mouth and throat and can ease a sore throat and a dry cough.