Chest congestion, one of the most troublesome illness for kids is generally caused by a bacterial function or a viral. The cold virus is the most common cause behind it. It is an upper respiratory illness.
Chest congestion interrupts with many of the bodily functions like sleeping, eating and breathing. It becomes difficult for an individual to perform these three functions. Coughing makes the disease more sorrowful and cough medicine is not recommended for the children under the age of six.
Symptoms of chest congestion includes excess mucus and/or dry cough. Just remember one thing, as long as the baby is active and eats and drinks normally, there is no need to worry. Sometimes illness tends to be good for people.
For example, runny nose is a body’s way of cleaning itself from various germs and viruses. But, too much of mucus can create a problem like a stuffy head and difficulty in breathing.
The problem starts when baby is not eating properly, crying every time or there are some breathing problems.
As over-the-counter medications are not recommended for small children, minor chest congestion can be treated at home only. Home remedies are safe also as there are no side-effects from the natural things. Some of the remedies are provided below.
1. Saline Drops
One can find the saline (saltwater) drops bottle in a medical store. Put few drops into each nostril. After that use a bulb syringe to remove the mucus. The method is safe to be done as many times as required. The babies will feel relaxed and if it is done just before the baby eats, the mealtime will become much easy for the baby.
This will work well with the babies under 6 months. The older ones can get fussy while using the bulb. You can skip that part for the older ones as the drops will thin the mucus and will work against the congestion.
How to use
- Put the drops in each nostril and wait for 1 minute
- Squeeze the syringe
- Place the bulb’s tip gently into the nostril
- Now, release the bulb slowly
- Wash the syringe with soap and water after each use
2. Healthy Soups
During chest congestion, children find it difficult to eat anything. But, they have to eat to keep their energy level up. You can go for cooking soups with different nutritious vegetables. It would be a healthy and an easy way to have it for the child.
There are various kinds of soup. Go for some chicken soup. It is proven to help against colds and boosts immunity levels. Vegetarians can go for the mixed vegetable soup.
3. Humidify the room
Add a humidifier or a vaporizer to the room where the baby stays or in the whole house. This will help to add the required moisture into the nasal tract of the baby and will ease the difficulty associated with chest congestion. As it will hydrate the nasal tract, the mucous will not dry up and there will be no blockage. Choose the safest humidifier for your little one.
One can also go for some hot water and steam as an alternative to the humidifier. Just run the hot shower and close the door for 10 minutes. Bathroom will be filled with steam. Let the baby stay there for some relief. Repeat the process 2-3 times a day.
4. Massage (mustard oil with ajwain seeds and garlic)
Heat ¼ cup of mustard oil and add chopped and slightly crushed garlic cloves, ajwain/carom seeds to it. Wait for the seeds to turn brown and then remove the mixture from heat. Make sure you do not burn the oil. Let it cool down.
Massage the soles of the feet and chest of the baby with this oil. Make the baby wear socks. This will keep the baby warm and will help in relieving congestion.
Note: make sure the oil is not too hot while applying to the child’s body.
5. Tulsi juice and honey
Tulsi leaves offer great medicinal properties. It has the disease fighting elements. One can go for giving tulsi juice mixed with honey.
Crush some tulsi leaves and get some juice out of them. Add 1 tablespoon of honey to the juice and store the mixture in a container. Give this juice to your little one at regular intervals in a day in order to eliminate the phlegm from the baby’s chest.
6. Increase Fluid Intake
At this time, keep the baby well hydrated by giving it breast milk or the formula milk frequently throughout the day. Offer some diluted fruit juice and water to the ones above the age of 6 months.
With any illness, fluids intake should always be increased. In chest congestion, giving fluids would help in thinning out the mucus in the airways and the baby will feel and breathe better. This will also prevent dehydration during illness and perhaps shorten the duration of the illness.
7. Pats to the baby
Try to give gentle pats on your baby’s back. It will provide some relief to the baby.
- Lay the baby down across your knees and gently pat its back with the cupped hand.
- Another way is by making the baby sit your lap with the body inclined about 30 degrees and then pat the back.
- One can also pat on the front of the chest. This will help the baby to cough properly.
8. Ginger Tea
Ginger is well known for all its medicinal and antibacterial qualities. The spice is added to almost all the vegetables. It is also known to reduce inflammations in the respiratory tract.
There are ginger candies being available in the market. Give one or two to your child to soothe the cold. Take the powdered ginger along with some honey and give it to the baby.
Ginger helps in treating throat infections and chest congestion
9. Vapor rub
Many vapor rubs are available in the market, which you can use for treating chest congestion. Take some amount of it and rub it on the chest area of the infected.
Make sure you choose the one for infants and toddlers. Do not use the adult version, as it is only safe for the babies over two years of age. Young ones might find it irritating on the skin. On the other hand the infant version will soothe the baby as it does not contain camphor and menthol, which is there in the adult version.
How to use
- Apply a thin layer with the bare hands on the baby’s neck, back and chest area.
- Take a small amount and rub it on the feet of the baby and then make them wear socks.
Some don’ts with vapor rub
- Never heat vapor rub as it can catch fire.
- Do not use it on face or near the eyes.
- Look for any irritation or allergy onto the skin of the baby and immediately remove the vapor rub.
- Do not swallow, it can be toxic if taken internally.
- Keep away from open skin or rashes. It can burn a rash.
10. Increase intake of Vitamin C
Vitamin C boosts the immune system and help fight against many diseases.
Feed your baby the foods that are rich in vitamin C. Try to give them a lot of orange juice or oranges.
Lemon is also a good source of vitamin C. Hence, take some hot water and add some lemon zest and a slice of lemon in it. Wait for 5-7 minutes so that the lemon essence could get infused into the solution. Strain off and give the solution to your baby. Honey can also be added to sweeten the solution.
You can also make some lemonade sugared with honey. The solution kills the germs and the bacteria that causes the problem and soothes the chest and throat of the baby.
11. Sleeping positions
Sleeping positions matter a lot as the breathing process carries on while sleeping also. With chest congestion, it becomes difficult for the baby to breathe easily.
- Inclination of the bed
Place the pillow mattress and crib in such a way that the bed for the baby gets slightly inclined. The inclined bed will help the baby to breathe easily and it will help the mucus to drain down the throat without sticking around the insides of nasal cavities.
- Raise head of the baby
Another technique is to raise the head of the baby while sleeping and breastfeeding. Maintaining this much angle will help to drain out the mucus from chest and nose much easily and will relieve the baby from congestion. Using pillows or slings can do this.
- Sideways sleeping
Sleeping sideways would also help in relieving the baby from congestion. Make sure that the baby does not sleep on its tummies. It is better to avoid this position when your little one is suffering from cold.