Lifestyle and home remediesBy Mayo Clinic staff
Most of the time, you can treat an older baby's cold at home. Consider these suggestions:
- Offer plenty of fluids. Liquids are important to avoid dehydration. Encourage your baby to take in his or her normal amount of fluids. Extra fluids aren't necessary. If you're breast-feeding your baby, keep it up. Breast milk offers extra protection from cold-causing germs.
- Thin the mucus. Your baby's doctor may recommend saline nose drops to loosen thick nasal mucus. Look for these over-the-counter drops in your local pharmacy.
- Suction your baby's nose. Keep your baby's nasal passages clear with a rubber-bulb syringe. Squeeze the bulb syringe to expel the air. Then insert the tip of the bulb about 1/4 to 1/2 inch (0.64 to 1.27 centimeters) into your baby's nostril, pointing toward the back and side of the nose. Release the bulb, holding it in place while it suctions the mucus from your baby's nose. Remove the syringe from your baby's nostril, and empty the contents onto a tissue by squeezing the bulb rapidly while holding the tip down. Repeat as often as needed for each nostril. Clean the bulb syringe with soap and water.
- Moisten the air. Running a humidifier in your baby's room can help improve runny nose and nasal congestion symptoms. Aim the mist away from your baby's crib to keep the bedding from becoming damp. To prevent mold growth, change the water daily and follow the manufacturer's instructions for cleaning the unit. It might also help to sit with your baby in a steamy bathroom for a few minutes before bedtime.
- Turner RB. The common cold. In: Kliegman RM, et al. Nelson Textbook of Pediatrics, 18th ed. Philadelphia, Pa.: Saunders Elsevier; 2007. http://www.mdconsult.com/das/book/body/213489709-9/1035772701/1608/893.html#4-u1.0-B978-1-4160-2450-7..50378-9--cesec20_7357. Accessed Aug. 6, 2010.
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- Facts about the common cold. American Lung Association. http://www.lungusa.org/lung-disease/influenza/in-depth-resources/facts-about-the-common-cold.html. Accessed Aug. 6, 2010.
- Symptom relief. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. http://www.cdc.gov/getsmart/antibiotic-use/symptom-relief.html. Accessed Aug. 6, 2010.
- Public health advisory: FDA recommends that over-the-counter (OTC) cough and cold products not be used for infants and children under 2 years of age. Food and Drug Administration. http://www.fda.gov/Drugs/DrugSafety/PublicHealthAdvisories/ucm051137.html. Accessed Aug. 6, 2010.
- Cough suppressant and pharmacologic protussive therapy: ACCP evidence-based clinical practice guidelines. Northbrook, Ill.: The American College of Chest Physicians (ACCP). http://www.guideline.gov/summary/summary.aspx?doc_id=8675&nbr=4840&ss=6&xl=999. Accessed Aug. 6, 2010.
- When to call the baby's doctor: Print-and-go guide. National Women's Health Information Center. http://www.womenshealth.gov/pregnancy/mom-to-be-tools/when-call-baby-doctor.pdf. Accessed Aug. 6, 2010
- What to do in a medical emergency: Fever. American College of Emergency Physicians. http://www.emergencycareforyou.org/EmergencyManual/WhatToDoInMedicalEmergency/Default.aspx?id=242&terms=fever. Accessed Aug. 6, 2010.
- Hoecker JL (expert opinion). Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minn. Aug. 8, 2010.