Question: How can I make my infant daughter with a cold more comfortable without using medications?

Answer: How can I make my nine month old daughter with a cold more comfortable without using medications?

Although the common cold, an acute upper respiratory tract infection, will go away by itself within about 7 to 10 days, its symptoms can make children very uncomfortable.  Cold symptoms may include nasal congestion or drainage, cough, runny nose, sore or scratchy throat, sneezing, body aches, headache and low-grade fever. Nasal discharge may start out clear and later become yellow or green.

In January of 2008, the FDA recommended that all over-the-counter (OTC) cough and cold medicines be avoided in children under two years old because serious and potentially life-threatening side effects could occur. As a result, manufacturers of infant cough and cold products  removed them from the market voluntarily. Cold products that contain dextromethorphan (for cough), pseudoephedrine, ephedrine, and phenylephrine (for nasal congestion), and diphenhydramine, chlorpheniramine, brompheniramine (for allergy symptoms) as well as combination cough and cold products, were removed.

  • There are ways to help your infant without using medications.
  • Give your child plenty of fluids so they don’t become dehydrated. This can also help loosen congestion.
  • Nasal bulb syringes can be used to remove nasal congestion.
  • Saline nose drops or sprays moisten and help to clear congested nasal passages.
  • Cool mist humidifiers or steam vaporizers work well to help relieve nasal congestion and cough by adding moisture to the air.

Call your pediatrician if your child:

  • is under 3 months old.
  • is under two and has had a fever for more than 24 hours.
  • has ear pain
  • has a severe sore throat
  • has symptoms that don’t improve or worsen within 10 to 14 days.

If you decide to give your infant acetaminophen or ibuprofen for pain or fever, you should know that infant drops are more concentrated than children’s suspension. Always use the dosing device (cup, dropper, or dosing syringe) that comes with the medication to be sure that your child is not receiving too much medication. For safety, never use a spoon from your kitchen.

Last Updated: November 21, 2013