14 Home Remedies for Cold and Flu in Babies & Kids

Home Remedies for Cold and Flu in Babies and Kids

Cold and flu are infections caused by viruses. Children under the age of 6 cannot be given over-the-counter cold and flu medication, which is why alternate medication in the form of home remedies should be used to alleviate cold and flu symptoms in babies and children. Before we start with the list of home remedies, you are advised not to try all of these remedies at once or simultaneously, and you should take care that your child does not turn out allergic to any ingredient. Consult with your paediatrician before trying these remedies, and remember to keep the baby’s age in mind before trying any of these remedies out.

Video: 8 Home Remedies for Cold and Flu in Babies & Kids

The remedies listed in this article work on children with the following symptoms:

  1. Mildly running nose
  2. Mild cough
  3. Sore throat
  4. Stuffy or blocked nose
  5. Loss or decrease in appetite
  6. Restlessness
  7. Fever

To treat cold in babies, it is important that parents try to first comfort them so that they feel better. Fever causes dehydration, and the baby might not always feel thirsty or comfortable drinking. However, it is essential that you encourage him to consume more fluids.

Here are some signs of dehydration in babies who are under 3 months:

  • Crying without shedding tears
  • Chapped lips
  • Sunken soft spots on the skin
  • Decreased in the activity level of the baby
  • Frequent urination (3 to 4 times in 24 hours)

If you are breastfeeding, you should try to feed the baby more frequently than you usually do. The baby may not be keen to feed due to the sickness, so you may want to breastfeed him in several short sessions. This is to ensure that your baby has enough fluid intake. If your doctor advises you, you may give your baby oral rehydration solution (pedialyte).

For older children, there are more options for hydration. Give your child fresh fruit juice, soup, etc. For a baby above the age of 12 months, you can feed him 2-5 ml of honey a couple times a day. This will help loosen his cough. Also make sure that your baby gets adequate rest for proper recovery.

Home Remedies

Cold and Flu in Babies and Kids

These home remedies for a toddler’s cold are safe, gentle and effective in helping the baby feel better. Here they are:

1. Breast Milk

Breast milk contains antibodies which make the body immune to all kinds of germs and viruses, including the cold and flu virus. Along with this, breast milk also provides hydration. This is one of the best natural remedies for flu in infants.

What You Can Do

Breast milk can be fed to babies that are under 6 months, and will not require any other medication.


Avoid drinking caffeine as it can affect the baby’s sleep.

2. Garlic and Ajwain Pouch

Garlic and ajwain are powerful cures for a cough and cold as they contain anti-bacterial and anti-viral properties. This mixture is one of the best herbal remedies for cold in children.

What You Can Do

Take 2 garlic cloves and 1 spoon of ajwain and dry roast them. Once cooled, put them in a muslin cloth and tie it tight. Place this pouch near the baby’s cot so that the oils and smells provide comfort to the baby. This pouch should help clear any blockage the baby might have owing to a cold.


The pouch should not be kept too close to the baby as it may prove to be a choking hazard. Alternatively, you can rub this pouch on the soles of the baby’s feet to achieve results.

3. Panikoora

It relieves babies from cold and cough as it helps expel sputum from the infant’s air pipe.

What You Can Do

Panikoora is a perennial plant which is found in the southern part of India. It has aromatic leaves that you can heat and shrivel on a stove top. Once shrivelled and cooled off, you can place them on the baby’s forehead. The leaves lose moisture and dry up, making it ready to absorb moisture from the baby’s body and helping get rid of a cold and cough.


There are no known side effects of using the Panikoora plant.

4. Mustard Oil Infused With Garlic and Carom Seeds

Mustard oil, garlic and ajwain have anti-bacterial and anti-viral properties. They have a soothing effect on the baby as they ease congestion.

What You Can Do

Heat 1/4th cup of mustard oil and add 2 cloves of crushed garlic and carom seeds to it. Once they turn brown, take it off the stove. Massage this oil on the baby’s chest and under his feet.


You should be cautious not to allow the baby to consume the oil as it may cause stomach problems.

5. Kesar Tilak

This paste will help absorb the water from the baby’s forehead and provide relief.

What You Can Do

Make a saffron paste and apply it on the soles of your baby’s feet and on the forehead as a tilak.


Though kesar is safe for consumption, some infants have adverse reactions such as nausea, allergic reactions and headaches. Make sure your child is not allergic and avoid getting it in your baby’s mouth when applying.

6. Dry Roasted Turmeric Rub

Dry Roasted Turmeric Rub

Turmeric can help in relieving cold symptoms as it has anti-viral and anti-bacterial properties.

What You Can Do

A dry turmeric stick in charred on a stove and then a paste is made. This paste, when applied on the bridge of the baby’s nose, can provide relief.


Avoid smearing the turmeric paste inside the baby’s nose as it may cause suffocation.

7. Carrot Juice

Carrot Juice

Carrots contain essential nutrients and vitamins that help boost the immune system. This is one of the best home remedies for toddler cold.

What You Can Do

Fresh carrot juice diluted with room temperature water can be given to babies aged 6 months and above.


Ensure that your baby is not allergic to carrots.

8. Mustard Oil Infused With Rock Salt

The warmth that mustard oil provides helps in relieving congestion of the throat.

What You Can Do

Warm some mustard oil and mix a spoon of rock salt to it. Massage this oil gently on the baby’s chest and back and cover with a cotton cloth to provide warmth.


Make sure that the oil is not too hot.

9. Saline Drops

Nasal or saline drops are a quick and safe option to provide your baby some relief from congestion.

What You Can Do

One can use a dropper to administer the saline drops.


In case the baby’s nose is filled with snot, you can use a nasal suction bulb to remove the congestion.

10. Use a Humidifier

Using a Humidifier

This will help draw help relief from a cough and cold by moistening dry air.

What You Can Do

A humidifier can be used in the baby’s room while he is asleep.


Humidifiers need to be cleaned regularly, or they begin to house mold and bacteria which can affect your child’s health.

11. Create a Steam Room

Creating a steam room will loosen the mucus and will relieve the baby from congestion.

What You Can Do

Run some hot water in the bathroom and make your baby sit inside for about 15 minutes.


Make sure your baby is adequately hydrated before and after the steam room treatment as he will lose a lot of fluids.

12. Lemon Water Mixed With Honey

Lemon Water Mixed with Honey

Lemons are rich in Vitamin C that is effective in fighting off a cold.

What You Can Do

Squeeze some lemon juice in a glass of warm water. Add honey for taste.


Having too much of this concoction will give your child a tummy ache.

13. Gargling

Gargling with salt water can provide relief from cold as it helps in breaking down the mucus and reducing swelling.

What You Can Do

Make the baby gargle a few times during the day especially when the baby has a sore throat.


You should be careful about the temperature of the water being used for gargling. Test it yourself before letting the baby use it. 

14. Raise Your Baby’s Head

Your baby’s body is repairing itself at night when he asleep, which is why a deep, uninterrupted sleep is important for the infection to subside. Raising your baby’s head will prevent the mucous to go back into his system and allow him to breathe easily.

What You Can Do

Simply take a towel and fold it. Put this towel under your child’s pillow so as to elevate his head. You can do so with another soft pillow.


Make sure that the height of the pillow is optimum as your child may end up having neck trouble if the pillow is too elevated.

General Precautions

  • Avoid trying any home remedy which involves the consumption of any oil/herb or medicine for babies below 6 months of age.
  • Ensure that the baby gets 18 hours of sleep, and toddlers or kids a minimum of 8 hours of sleep when they have a cold and cough.
  • Do not use honey for children who are less than 1 year old. This could lead to a disorder called infant botulism.
  • Kids should be encouraged to use a handkerchief and wash their hands to avoid infection.
  • Ensure that your child is not allergic to any ingredient you will be using in your home remedy.
  • Breastfeed as much as you can. Breast milk has a lot of antibodies that build immunity.
  • Do not forcefully give food to your baby. Loss of appetite is common during colds and flu.
  • Your baby’s clothing during a cold and flu should be in accordance with the weather. Keep your baby warm by clothing him in layers.
  • Keep your child away from daycare or school when he is unwell, especially if he has a fever.
  • Use only boiled and cooled or distilled water to prevent any other infections in the baby.
  • Try the recipes on yourself before using them on the baby.
  • Wash your and your baby’s hands frequently during this time to avoid infections. 80% of infections are spread through touch.
  • Keep your house clean so no one else falls ill. It is a good idea to disinfect objects that are used frequently.
  • Try to feed the baby warm fluids that will help in flushing out the mucus, hydrate the baby and bring him relief.

When to Call a Doctor?

When using home remedies you must also observe your child for the following symptoms:

  • Runny nose and cough with thick, greenish and yellowish secretion
  • Sore throat and difficulty swallowing
  • Inflamed tonsils
  • Increased respiratory rate
  • Fever greater than 101 or 104 degrees for more than two consecutive days
  • Has high fever (100.4 degrees or higher) and is less than 3 months old
  • Has a fever that does not subside after taking acetaminophen or ibuprofen
  • Extremely drowsy or fatigued
  • Refuses to eat or drink
  • Has issues with breathing or is wheezing

All the above symptoms are indicative of something other than common cold and would require immediate medical attention.

The above-mentioned remedies will help provide your little one relief from cold. You could take a trial-and-error approach where you can observe which treatment your baby responds to the best. Once your child recovers from the cold and flu, it is necessary that you go into prevention mode.

Also Read:

Foods to Eat & Avoid during Cold and Cough for Babies, Toddlers and Kids
Safe Home Remedies for Cough in Children