Respiratory tract infections are common throughout the community, and babies are also frequently affected. There is a special section later dealing with this. (See “Respiratory problems“)
However, coughs are very common, and many simple remedies exist to help them. If there is any severe cough, the underlying infection of the breathing mechanism must be treated as well.
Home remedies for cough and cold in babies
If the cough is producing a large amount of material, it is unwise to try and completely stop the cough mechanism. This is an automatic “reflex” mechanism of the body to rid poisons and toxins from the system, and so prevent them causing further illness.
A simple way to overcome a cough is to have the baby’s room heated to a comfortable temperature. Most coughs occur in colder weather. A radiator or simple heating device can help reduce a severe cough. Cold air will aggravate it.
A simple persistent non-productive cough can often be relieved by having moist warm air in the room. Even a kettle boiling can assist. Taking the child into the bathroom where there is lots of steam can be very soothing.
In the middle of the night this can be reassuring (to the parents) and comforting (to baby). Turn hot and cold taps (or shower taps) on at the same time. Steam rapidly forms.
There are many simple cough remedies which tend to soothe inflamed air passages: some also contain a mild sedative. Cough syrup elixirs are helpful. Your doctor or clinic sister will advise you on a suitable mixture, and on the dosage.