It is miserable to watch kids suffering from any sickness. Cough and congestion can be the most common reasons for visiting the doctor if you are having an infant or a toddler. There are several in-home treatments available for the kids like using humidifiers, nasal aspirators or drops, steamy showers, etc. However, the application of home remedies for curing chest congestion in babies, toddlers and infants are considered to safe and result-oriented. In addition, Indian households still trust home remedies as a first-line treatment for cough and cold.
In this blog, you will find some useful home remedies for curing congestion in babies, toddlers and kids along with advantages and some exceptions to it.
Advantages of Using Home Remedies for curing Chest Congestion in Babies, Toddlers and Kids:
- A home remedy is an age-old trusted method for the treatment of any generic health issue.
- A home remedy is prepared from things available in your home, so you need not have to worry about its shelf life and expiry dates of the ingredients used.
- You can be 100% sure that the ingredients used are safe and fresh.
- There are no side effects associated with home remedies.
Exceptions of Home Remedies:
- Traditional home remedies may not work effectively if your kid is having a breathing disorder, not due to the blocked nose.
- A home remedy may also not work if a child is allergic to any herb or food.
- If a child is having a high fever (101-degree F or more), then it is good to avoid home remedy as it may not be fruitful.
Causes of chest congestion in babies, toddlers and kids:
- Viral Infections.
- Low/ immature immunity.
- Acid Reflux.
Symptoms of chest congestion in babies, toddlers and kids:
- Difficulty in breathing
- Runny nose
- Extensive coughing
- Mild Fever
- Restless and sleepless nights
- Inability to suck breast milk (in case of babies below 02 years) and associated Vomiting (at times)
- Increased irritability and crankiness at nights/supper time
- Rattling noise from chest
- Fast breathing or Breathing through nose
Now, let’s discuss Home Remedies for curing chest congestion in Babies, Toddlers and Kids.
Home Remedies for curing Chest congestion in babies, toddlers and kids:
Home remedies can be divided into the following sections for the effective treatment of cough and cold in babies and toddlers:
1. Home remedies dealing with food/herbs for curing chest congestion in babies, toddlers and kids.
2. Home remedies revolving around the clothing of the babies, toddlers and kids for curing chest congestion.
3. Home remedies revolving around room settings for curing chest congestion in babies, toddlers and kids.
1. Let’s begin with the first set, revolving around food items and herbs – Home Remedies for curing chest congestion in babies, toddlers and kids:
|Please note, this section doesn’t apply to the infants below the age of 6 months. Therefore, kindly check the ‘Age Recommended’ section of the information.|
Age Recommended: 6 months to 1 year old
- Carrot juice – It is helpful in treating dry cough. It can be served once in a day.
- Probiotics – It enhances immunity and reduces the likelihood of cough and cold.
- Peppermint – It acts as a soothing agent for a sore throat and also breaks down the congested mucus. It can be inhaled via vaporization method.
- Encourage your child to enjoy fresh citrus juices, rich vitamin C, kiwi fruits, oranges and pumpkin seeds which are rich in zinc. These help to diminish the duration of any cough and cold that arises due to chest congestion.
Age Recommended: 1 year and above
- A pinch of Turmeric powder added with Warm Milk. For best results, serve two times in a day.
- Hot milk with honey. For optimum results, give this to your child before sleep at night.
- Warm water with salt for gargling. It would be given to babies above 1.5 years of age. However, if your kid is unable to gargle then simply give him/her warm water to drink.
- Give your toddler Ginger juice with a teaspoon of honey. For best results, serve him/her thrice a day before feeds/meals.
- Give your toddler Tulsi leaf juice with a teaspoon of honey and ginger to control the night-time bouts of cough caused due to chest congestion in toddlers.
- Take a few leaves of tulsi, thick-leaved lavender and Ruta (pre-heated). Warm them in an iron-pan over a low flame. Now, crush the warmed leaves to extract the juice. Feed quarter spoon of this juice to your kid thrice a day.
- Mix a pinch of Jayfal (Nutmeg) powder with mom’s milk/ cow’s milk/honey. Give one teaspoon of this mixture twice a day on an empty stomach to your toddler.
- Mix lemon juice (1 tbsp) and honey (1 tbsp). Warm this mixture in the microwave for 2 minutes. Give 1 tablespoon of this warmed up mixture three times in a day to your toddler.
- Chicken soup.
- Blend 2 tablespoons lemon juice with 1 tablespoon honey and add a pinch of cayenne pepper. You can use a little quantity of freshly grated onion in place of cayenne pepper. Onions trigger the cough reflex and bring up the mucus/ phlegm.
- Take 6 medium onions. Peel and chop them and put them with 4 tablespoons of honey into a bowl set over a pan of boiling water. Cover and simmer for 2 hours. Strain the mixture. Serve it 1 Tablespoon to your toddler at least once a day for three days.
- Take 5-6 cloves and mix it in honey (1 cup). Leave this in the fridge overnight. In the morning, remove the cloves and give a teaspoon to your toddler at frequent intervals. This will relieve his/her sore throat caused by chest congestion.
- Take the flower of a vasaka plant (found abundantly in rural India). Crush it and extract its juice. Mix this juice in an equal quantity of honey and feed the toddler frequently in a day. It will cure the cough caused by chest congestion.
Age Recommended: 2 years and above
- Take acorus plant, grind the plant in water till it becomes a thick paste. On a low flame, warm down the paste and then spread it over the forehead. This will relieve the headache and nasal block associated with cough bouts due to chest congestion.
- A spice tea/kadha as we know in India can also be tried. To make the tea, add ½ teaspoon of powdered ginger and a pinch of clove and cinnamon powder to a cupful of boiling water, stir and give it to the baby in a sipper to sip slowly in the daytime.
Age Recommended: 3 years and above
- An old-fashioned cure is simply giving a mulethi stick to sip to your babies of 3-5 years ago. It sweetly coats the throat and its Vitamin C cures the chest congestion and sore throat.
2. Now, let’s look at the other set revolving around clothing- Home Remedies for curing chest congestion in babies, toddlers and kids:
- Do not let you toddler roam in wet clothes. Change the clothes immediately.
- During winters and the weather change, prefer warm clothing for your little one.
- Always use a clean and soft handkerchief for cleaning the blocked nose.
- Keep two handkerchiefs in their pockets, if possible: one to be used for sneezing/coughing or wiping nose and the other one to wipe hands before eating meals. Tell them to avoid using anybody else’s hand towels/bath towels.
- Change the pillow covers and bedsheets every two-three days while the babies are down with cough and cold.
- Do not let the child carry on with a fully loaded diaper or wet pants.
3. Now let’s move to the third and last set related to room settings- Home Remedies for curing chest congestion in babies, toddlers and kids:
- Plenty of sleep is really significant as when the child is inactive due to sickness, it becomes hard for the body to fight off infections
- The room in which baby sleeps must be airy, well cross-ventilated and not at all damp.
- In case if you use electric blowers or charcoal fireplaces, make sure the baby is not in direct contact with the blower or the ash of the charcoal.
- If you are using plastic dry sheets on the baby’s bed, cover them with a cotton/woolen bed cover as that way, the baby won’t feel cold at night when the temperatures drop.
- If your toddler loves to bundle up inside the blanket, try covering him/her on all sides in the blanket at night especially.
- Pour a few drops of eucalyptus oil on the pillow and the blanket to be used for the baby before you put them to sleep. When the baby will sleep, s/he will inhale the oil which will help to remove the chest congestion and let him/her breathe and sleep peacefully. Recommended age: For babies above two months of age.
- Leave a few drops of chamomile tincture in a bowl on the heater/radiator in the bedroom overnight. It is a comforting herb and helps to put the baby to sleep at night. Recommended age: For babies above two months of age.
- Apply a few drops of mustard oil in your baby’s nostrils. Oil’s warmth will relieve the blocked nose caused due to chest congestion. Recommended age: 5 days after birth.
Note: Be sure your baby doesn’t have any skin allergies, then only apply this above mentioned home remedy.
- Heat a tablespoon mustard oil on low flame with one/ two cloves of garlic. Once the oil is back to room temperature, massage the baby’s back, legs, stomach, navel and hands with it. Wipe the baby with a warm water towel and then put on his nightclothes and tuck him/her to sleep. The oil massage will slowly help the baby to remain warm throughout the night. This is one of the best home remedies for curing Chest Congestion in Babies, Toddlers and Kids. Recommended age: As long as the umbilical cord of the baby doesn’t fall off naturally by itself. To keep it safe, introduce massage only after 40 days of baby’s birth.
- You can apply any nasal spray/drops or even a massage with good old Vicks BabyRub. Follow the directions to use which is mentioned in the box. It is safe and especially for the kids. Recommended age: 3 months and above.
- Once the cold has been cured, change your baby’s toothbrush immediately.
- Put some rhythm/fun in your massage by using a chest percussion technique. Make the baby lie on his/her stomach on a firm bed/mat. Gently tap your hands over his/her back, moving from the lower back up towards his/her neck. Repeat several times till you feel the child’s congestion has started to loosen up.
- Try mustard poultice to reduce chest congestion in babies. Mix one part of mustard powder and 2 parts of flour in a bowl. Add just enough water to make a paste. Spread the paste on a thin cotton towel and fold the towel in half. Apply a little petroleum jelly on the child’s chest and then press the mustard poultice towel on the chest. Check the child’s skin and remove the towel if it becomes red/ too hot for him/her.
- Try using humidifiers in the child’s bedroom to moisten the air at night in winters. This will prevent nocturnal coughing and allow the baby to have sound sleep.
So, these were the Home Remedies for curing chest congestion in babies, toddlers and kids. Herbs are cheaper than most of the drugs, they are easily available and in most of the cases, they are just as effective and often safer.
When to consult a doctor?
If your baby, kid or toddler is unable to eat due to chest congestion or there are severe breathing problems that they make noises while breathing, if your baby is below 3 months and is having a fever over 100 degrees or higher, or if your child’s mucus does not go away for 3 days, consult a doctor immediately.
Preventive measures that can be taken to avoid chest congestion:
- The best preventive measure that can be taken to prevent cold, chest congestion etc is to maintain hygiene be it in terms of washing hands frequently, toys they play with, door handles or in the food they eat to prevent germs or bacteria from entering their body
- Wear the proper amount of clothes in winter
- Cover your mouth when you sneeze as many germs are expelled in the air when you sneeze without covering your mouth which can cause cold or respiratory problems due to bacteria entering into the body
Remember: The whole aim of suggesting the home remedies for curing chest congestion in babies, toddlers and kids is to enable you to handle small emergencies and in fact, not let them become a serious ailment. But if you find nothing is working for your child, do not let it go on for long. Consult your doctor at the earliest.
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