As the winter approaches, the weather gets colder and we tend to stay indoors more often. Staying indoors means dry air and not much of air circulation, which gives us more possibilities to be exposed to viruses. Babies stay indoors a lot of time during winter and because of their immature immune system, colds and flu are really common during the first years of a baby’s life.
Influenza, or flu, is a respiratory illness that is caused by a virus. Flu is highly contagious and is usually spread by the coughs and sneezes of a person who is infected (MNT).
The easiest way to fight colds and flu is to prevent them. Wash your hands regularly, air the rooms and keep your baby away from sick people. If the cold or flu already got your baby, there are some great home remedies that help lessen the general discomfort produced by the viruses.
Garlic is a superfood, it’s inexpensive, effective, and completely safe for your baby (7 months and up). Thanks to its antiviral, antibiotic, and antioxidant properties, garlic helps to protect the immune system and boost your baby’s resistance. Its oil is great as a decongestant, helping to keep respiratory passages open.
To take advantage of garlic’s health benefits, it is best to consume it raw. For babies, it is better to add it to their food and not to consume it directly.
Pepper has antioxidant and antibacterial properties. It is also an irritant, helping to stimulate the flow of mucus. Eating or smelling pepper helps to eliminate the germs in the nasal passages and break up congestion as well. Add a little bit of freshly ground pepper to your baby’s food to see the results.
3. Keep your baby hydrated
Babies have small fluid reserves and can get dehydrated very quickly. It’s important to keep your baby hydrated while they are sick as the liquid helps the body to function normally and also thins mucus.
The best way to hydrate your baby is to increase breastfeeding. From 6 months and up, water, diluted fruit juices, broth, and electrolyte liquids may be given, to replenish minerals that your baby has lost.
4. Saline nasal drops + bulb syringe
This combo is the best way to fight congestion. Babies don’t know how to blow their noses, so it’s hard to get the mucus out. Buy saline nasal drops from a chemist’s store or you can make saline water at home too. Use saline drops to thin mucus and then use a bulb syringe to suck out the boogies.
Do this before feeding and don’t use saline water for more than a couple of days in a row, as it might dry out the baby’s nose. Also, using a bulb syringe too often can irritate the lining of the nose.
5. Elevate your baby’s head
Elevating your baby’s head while sleeping improves drainage as mucus drains downward, helps them breathe better and they feel more comfortable.
One way to improve drainage is to put your baby to sleep in her car seat in a semi-upright position. You can also use a slim pillow, towels, or a wedge to elevate your baby’s head if they are sleeping in a crib. Always place the soft bedding between a mattress and floorboard because of the risk of SIDS.
How do you help your kids and baby when they have colds and flu?
Disclaimer: This article is for information only. Consult a doctor for more information. See our disclosure here.