6 Simple, Natural Tips to Prevent & Treat Infant Colds

Lullaby 11/02/2012
It’s that time of year again - the dreaded cold and flu season. And, if you have kids at home, you’re extra vulnerable to the waves of viruses that circulate through the population. This year, get proactive. Follow these tried and true natural tips to both prevent and treat infant colds: 1. Wash Your Hands Frequently. The simplest and most effective way to fight off germs is by washing your hands (and your baby’s hands). Make sure to rub vigorously (front and back, between fingers, and around nail beds) for at least 20 seconds, or as long as it takes to sing the ABCs. Skip the antibacterials; studies haven’t found them to be any more effective than regular soap and they’ve been linked to negative environmental and health effects. (They’re useless against viruses, too). 2. Sanitize When You’re Out and About. Use a non-toxic hand sanitizer when you’re on the go. Keep natural wipes handy, too. Hand sanitizers only work on clean hands, so you may need to wipe them off first. 3. Get Plenty of Sleep. This is a tough prescription for parents of babies, but try harder than usual to get a full night’s sleep (and maybe a long nap if necessary) to keep your body’s immune system in tip-top shape. The average adult needs about 6-8 hours of sleep. A newborn may need up to 18 hours a day, toddlers require 12 to 13 hours, and preschoolers need about 10 hours. 4. Keep Hydrated. Make sure children stay hydrated, and give them what they’re accustomed to drinking. According to pediatricians on WebMD, “[f]or babies, stick to breast milk or formula for those younger than 6 months. Don’t give straight water to babies younger than 6 months; their kidneys can’t process it correctly and an electrolyte imbalance may occur. For children older than 12 months, try water, diluted juice, and milk.” 5. Use saline drops. Saline drops help dilute mucous and keep your child’s nasal passage clear. Buy saline drops at your local pharmacy, put 2-3 drops in each nostril, and suction out mucous with a bulb syringe.  (Don't use this technique more than a few times a day or for more than four days or you can irritate the lining of the nose.) 6. Try a steam bath. Steam can help loosen congestion, relieving some of the discomfort of colds. Turn the bathroom into a steam room by closing the door and turning on the shower at full heat. Sit and breathe in the steam for 10 or 15 minutes. (Never leave a child alone in this environment.) What are your natural tips for preventing and treating colds? Note: This information is strictly for educational purposes and is not a substitute for professional medical advice.