Winters mean cozy sweaters, snuggles in the blanket but along comes the dreaded cough too! Unlike adults, regular cough medicines cannot always be given to babies as they may have fatal side effects. But when the remedies are available in your own kitchen and home, you need to look no further!
This season, if not love, viral definitely is in the air! Babies are very susceptible to catching coughs and colds and the recovery isn’t really easy. Moreover when it comes to the little ones, regular medicines cause more harm than good, especially for children below 2 years of age. For example, most cough syrups contain certain amount of alcohol that is known to cause drowsiness in adults, effects of which are very prominent in babies.
But as mothers, we should thank our great grand moms and grand moms for passing on those secret quick home remedies that help alleviate cough effectively sans any side effects. When it comes to children, it is better to be safe than sorry. Here are 7 quick and safe home remedies that help cure cough amongst babies.
1. Warm Oil Massage:
A universal remedy for babies of any age, warm oil massage is an excellent solution to ease out the effects of cough like chest congestion. Mustard oil, garlic and carom seeds (ajwain) are rich in anti-bacterial and anti-viral properties, Mustard oil also essentially is a warm oil that helps with congestion.
How to do it : Warm a little (about 1/4 cup) mustard oil with a few cloves of crushed garlic and massage the baby’s chest and neck area for instant relief. A pinch of carom seeds (ajwain) can also be added to the oil for better results. Make sure you also rub a little oil on the palms and feet of the baby and cover with gloves and socks respectively.
Steam is an excellent way to help reduce the coughing in babies. It not only helps with clearing the chest congestion but also helps clear the nasal blockage and loosen the mucous enabling in clearing the airway that can make the breathing easier.
How to do it : For babies less than 3 years of age, direct steam inhalation isn’t advisable. You can create a steam room conveniently at home. Turn on the shower and close the bathroom door. Make sure you’ve set the shower in a way that it dispenses hot water, and let the room steam up. Sit in there with your baby in your lap for about 15 minutes. This should ease the coughing.
3. Tulsi/ Basil Leaves:
A very reliable cure for cough in Indian households, Tulsi leaves have exceptional medicinal properties. They stimulate the production of immune cells and therefore helps build an overall immunity. Remedies involving Tulsi should only be given to babies above 2 years of age
How to use it? : Soak a few tulsi leaves in water for more than an hour. Strain the water and allow your baby to take a few sips at regular intervals.
4. Lemon and Honey Mixture:
Endowed with vitamin C and essential properties, lemon juice is an excellent for developing immunity in kids. It also has anti-septic and antibacterial properties that helps in curing cold and cough. Honey on the other hand, soothes throat inflammation and suppresses cough in a natural manner. However, since this remedy involves honey, it should only be given to babies above 1 year as honey is known to cause botulism (a toxic illness) in infants below 12 months.
How to use it? : A combination of 1 teaspoon lemon juice mixed with a few drops of honey can be added to a cup of warm water. Feed this to your baby 3 to 4 times a day.
Ginger is very effective in treating cough for babies and adults alike. It helps in increasing the blood circulation and has properties that provides warmth to the baby’s body. Once again, this remedy is applicable to babies over 12 months.
How to use it? : A mixture of ginger juice and honey works very well to relieve throat distress. Mix a teaspoon of ginger juice and equal amount of honey and give it to your baby followed by a cup of warm milk. This will help soothe the sore throat.
Another way of using ginger is by grating a piece of it and boil it with water along with a few pepper pods, 1 clove, 1 cardamom pod and a few tulsi leaves. Strain the mixture and give a few sips of this mixture to your baby at regular intervals.
6. Garlic and Ajwain Potli:
Garlic and Ajwain, both are known for their anti viral properties. When combined together, they produce excellent results in reducing chest and cough related issues. This cannot be ingested by babies as they have a very strong flavour, however a using it in a pouch does help.
How to use it? : Dry roast 2 big garlic cloves and a tablespoon of ajawain on a tawa. Once cooled, put these igredients on a clean muclin cloth and tie it an pouch or a potli. Make sure the potli is tight. Put the potli near the baby when they sleep. The fumes emitted from this mixture helps ease the congestion.
A mild chamomile tea can help ease the sore throat and related distress in babies. It soothes the throat and clears congestion. This remedy can be used for babies above 6 months.
How to use it? : Boil a Chamomile tea bag in 2 cups of water and allow it cool till its lukewarm. Give a few teaspoons of the tea to the baby 3-4 times a day
Apart from these age old tested remedies, putting a humidifier in the baby’s room will make the air moist and help your baby breathe easily. Make sure to always elevate your baby’s head as this too helps them breathe better. Additionally, keep their hands sanitized and make sure you always keep them warm.