A few years ago, the FDA recommended that cough and cold medications should not be given to babies under the age of two because of their potential to cause serious and even life-threatening reactions. They wrote in their consumer update:
‘There are a wide variety of serious adverse events reported with cough and cold products. They include death, convulsions, rapid heart rates, and decreased levels of consciousness.’
Other medications for pain and fever have also come under the spotlight for causing unwanted side-effects and for being contaminated with chemicals used in packaging.
Many parents now want an alternative way to ease their children’s symptoms without resorting to drugs.
1. Research at the University of California has found that if you exclusively breast feed your baby for at least six months, he has five times less chance of getting a cold than a formula fed baby. Breast feeding is one of the most effective ways you can prevent colds in your baby or toddler.
2. If you are breast feeding you can also take a vitamin C supplement to help prevent colds in your baby, as some of the vitamin C will pass through your milk into your baby. A double blinded trial of vitamin C’s ability to prevent colds conducted and researchers found that
‘Compared with the placebo group, the active-treatment group had significantly fewer colds, fewer days challenged virally and a significantly shorter duration of severe symptoms. Consequently, volunteers in the active group were less likely to get a cold and recovered faster if infected. Few side effects occurred with the active treatment, and volunteers reported greatly increased satisfaction with the study supplement compared with any previous form of vitamin C. This well-tolerated vitamin C supplement may prevent the common cold and shorten the duration of symptoms.’
3. A toddler or older child can be given chewable vitamin C directly. (Check that it is free of ingredients such as aspartame and talc, which can be harmful to health).
4. If your child has a blocked nose, you can help relieve it by using a nasal aspirator to remove mucus.