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Help for Cold and Cough!

My DS has a terrible cough and runny nose and I don't know what to do to help him feel better. We have the humidifier going, using saline drops when necessary, and have even tried some baby Vaporub, but nothing seems to be helping. I guess we probably just need to wait it out, but the cough just sounds so terrible. I don't want to waste time going to the doctor when they probably can't do anything, so thought I would check with other moms and see if anyone has had any luck with other ways to help them through this.

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Thank you so much ladies for all of the suggestions! I decided to go to the doctor and check things out just in case, especially since this is the first time he has been sick so I am not familiar yet with how he typically exhibits symptoms, etc. They said his ears and lungs are clear, but he has a sore throat. They did a strep test, but it came back negative so they are thinking just viral and we are treating with saline drops and since his congestion is bothering him at night, we have let him sleep some of the last couple of nights in the swing.

Our doctor definitely suggested no medications (except Tylenol if we think he is in pain) for the congestion.

I really appreciate your many suggestions!

Featured Answers

Try putting vicks on his feet and cover with socks and then footie pajamas. I was given that tip and it seemed to help.
I am in the same boat with my 1yr old and there is really nothing you can do except sleep and fluids.

Good Luck

1 mom found this helpful

Try putting baby vaporub on the bottom of feet and put sock on it works!! sounds funny but it works.

My 1 year old gets ear infections often, and the sometimes the only symptom is a cough. It might be worth a trip to the pediatrician.

If he starts wheezing, take him in right away!

Hope this helps!

More Answers

Try putting vicks on his feet and cover with socks and then footie pajamas. I was given that tip and it seemed to help.
I am in the same boat with my 1yr old and there is really nothing you can do except sleep and fluids.

Good Luck

1 mom found this helpful

It sounds like you are donig all you can for the poor little guy, call your doctor and ask which over the counter meds you can use and the dosage, don't be afraid of using over the counter, especially for the stuffey nose, just get the right dosage, I don't find cough meds to work all that well but you could at least help clear up his nose. Good luck wish I had more!

Also try a vaporizer with vicks in it, I find that helps a lot more then a humidifier.

I would take your little one to the doctor. My daughter just got over pneumonia and I wouldn't have known she had it if I didn't take her in to get checked out. But, you could try running the shower and sitting her in the bathroom to breathe in the steam. If things don't improve, I'd take her in.

My advice is listen to the cough and maybe go the doctor anyway. I just took my 7 month old for the same symptoms (he had spiked a brief fever too.) They gave him some albuterol to help with the breathing, which was strained because of the coughing and congestion. He got antibiotics too because of an ear infection to go with it all - and I can't be sure which really helped his cold symptoms. However, they were able to help me feel more comfortable about what type of cough he had. I really had no idea what whooping cough sounds like, but that's when it gets dangerous. I'm happy to report my little one is much better now, but we fought it for about 2 full weeks... Good luck!

I hate using medicine, but Tylonal cold (or any other children's cold medicine) does work wonders.

Check with your doctor, but I've recently heard that recommendations are against benadryl for anyone under 6. That would probably be Tylenol-cold. The generic name is diphenhydramine, so look for it on the ingredient list. It has been linked to deaths (rare, but who wants to risk it!), even when given as recommended. And of course, no antibiotics will help a virus. Next time my 2 year old gets the cough he had last week I'm going to try some of these home remedys! If your child is really sick, struggling to breathe (using extra muscles), get medical help. Good luck!

You didn't mention whether your child is breast or bottle fed. If baby is bottle fed, there could be reason to believe allergies may be involved. Breast fed babies don't get sick like that very often. Bottle fed babies are either on soy milk or other milk based formulas. If it is not soy, it is cows milk with added nutrients. Cows milk is for cows. babies should never be fed anything that comes from a cow. The symptoms are usually runny nose which leads to cough.

I found with my little ones it is better to take them to the doctor just in case it is something that is serious, or I found that sometimes it could have become serious had I not taken them in. Better safe then sorry.
Good luck.

As crazy as this sounds . . . it works. Rub Vicks Vapor Rub on his feet, cover with socks, and within 5 minutes his coughing will stop.

I heard about this on the Today Show. They said that doctors have found that this actually works, but they can't figure out why.

Hope it works for you.


Try running the shower on hot until bathroom get really steamy and hold him in there (the bathroom not the shower) for 10 - 15 minutes. That helped for my son when he was very congested.

If he has been coughing for more than a few days I would take him to the doctor to make sure it isn't bronchitis or Pneumonia.

Good luck.

I heard that you can stop a cough by rubbing his feet with vicks and putting socks over it. Can't hurt to try it.


Hi E.!
I think it is important to take your DS to the doctor to see if he has RSV, pneumonia, or something else that requires a nebulizer treatment. My DS had a terrible cough when he was 6mo old and we ended up needing to nebulize him with albuterol because he was wheezing and having trouble breathing. Watch your DS breathe when his shirt is off. If it looks like he is struggling at all, he certainly needs to be seen by the doctor.
If you don't want to take him to the doctor right away, I would try what you are already doing and add the steamy shower trips a couple of times a day plus the vicks on his feet at night. You could also raise the mattress on his crib on the end where his head is with some towels and see if that helps. I don't think there are any over the counter meds that are safe to give to a baby of his age (plus I don't think they are always effective in young children).

My first bit of advise, though is to go to the doctor. With a baby, I don't think a doctor visit for a bad cough is ever wasted, and then you can also rest easy knowing that you have done everything you can for DS.
Hope this helps!!!

Have you tried the vapor rub on the bottom of his feet at bed time and nap time? This is a old remedy that I have just recently become aware of. My sister and I have tried it with our kids and have found that it works well on wet (congestion) coughs but doesn't really do much for dry croupy coughs.

Good luck!

You could try some essential oils as a natural way to relieve some of his symptoms. My 14-year-old daughter, who is old enough to take over-the-counter cold remedies, greatly prefers sniffing peppermint essential oil to clear out nasal stuffiness from a cold instead of taking the medicine. She says it works better than the medicine. ESsential oils are cleared out of the body quickly, so are safer than most medicines. "The Complete Book of Essential Oils & Aromatherapy" by Valerie Ann Worwood is considered a good source of information by many naturalists that I've spoken to. You can also do a search on the web for essential oils & find lots of information. Off the top of my head I know that eucalyptus & peppermint oils are good, but I know there are some others (particularly for the cough) that are good as well. For colds, they are usually inhaled or rubbed on the chest.

"Kids Herbs" herbal tinctures. I use them as an adult and find them more effective than over the counter and perscriptions. They taste delicious and work. I have been studdying herbal medicine from the age of 18 yr old ( now 50 yr old) and know my herbs. This company has done their homework. Also have found nothing better for a runny nose than elder flower tincture. Gently heals and dries it up without side effects and is safe for infants. good luck

The only other thing is motrin. Is there a fever with it? I would go to the doc after the 4th day with fever.

My 1 year old gets ear infections often, and the sometimes the only symptom is a cough. It might be worth a trip to the pediatrician.

If he starts wheezing, take him in right away!

Hope this helps!

Try rubbing the vaporrub on the bottom of his feet. Then cover with socks or feeted jams. You can also try rubbing some between his shoulder blades, along with the usual chest area. When my second daughter, age 3 1/2 gets colds she always gets a nasty cough that keeps her and everyone in the house up. If I take the time to apply the Vics we rarely hear her cough. I thought it was rather quackish when I first heard this from my aunt, but it really works! Try it on yourself too...it is amazing! Helps with stuffy noses too!!

Good luck- S.

Try a littl Vicks slathered on the bottom of his feet and put socks on. Just recently read that this works, but haven't had the opportunity to try it.

Hi E.,
You can get him some cough medicine for kids with a decongestant! That should help! And don't just use the vicks on his chest, do his back and feet as well! Put socks on to cover them! Works wonders! And yes, sometimes ytou just have to wait it out1 not good to go to the Dr's alot for antibiotics as the kids will build up an immunity to them after awhile if they are on them alot1 and when you do take them adults as well~~~ Finish them out! don't stop taking them after you start to feel better!another way for people to build up immunities to antibiotics!
Oh! Did i mention I am an LPN? ;)
Good luck hun! Hope he feels better soon!


Hi E.,
I would bring him in to your ped. He is young and it could be many things that can turn serious quickly. Don't use any over the counter medicines other than Motrin or Tylanol the don't work and can be harmful. Even if you bring him in and it's just a cough at least you know and that's what doctors are there for. Good luck.

I got this email a while back with old wives tales that work. I tried it out and it is awesome, it even worked on adults! Instead of putting the vapor rub on thier chest, put it on the heels of his feet. It must be the heels - not arch. It takes about a half hour and then the cough is gone! It stays away almost all night. I tried it on my school aged kid before school and he didn't start coughing until he was back home from school. You can still put some on his chest for his nose to not be stuffy, but if its just a cough - try his heels. Coat it on thick and then put socks on. It helps put them to sleep really quickly too;)

When my baby was sick, the best thing we did for him was take him into the bathroom with the door closed and run the shower on HOT. The steam really helped him loosen stuff up and made him comfortable enough to sleep afterwards. We stayed in there for about 10 minutes or so. Maybe you can save the water in the tub and take a bath afterwards ( : Our pediatrician also suggested bundling up our son and taking him for a walk in the cold, which seemed to help too. It seemed that the worst thing for him was the dry heat inside. Good luck!

Take him to a naturopath. Herbal cold remedies (naturopathic and/or tinctures) are so much more effective than children's cold medicines that you buy from a regular pharmacy. Plus, you'll have the peace of mind of not filling him full of synthetic garbage.

you just have to wait it out. make sure he gets as many fluids as possible. offer him a bottle of water...i know many kids won't drink it. but if you offer it enough he just may. if he's not eating or is throwing up as well, offer pedialyte. it helps replace his electrolytes and keep him hydrated as well. the vaporub and and humifier are a great start. i know this sounds silly, but put vaporub on the bottoms of his feet...like a foot massage with it then put his lil sockies on!! its supposed to help a little. what ever you do, don't give him cold/cough meds! you probably know better, but i wouldn't feel right not sayin it. i know it breaks my heart when my kids are ill, but all you can do is love them and keep them comfy til it runs its course :(. if it persists longer than 2 weeks or seems to get worse throughout the week, call a doc, it may be something worse than a cold. Good Luck

There is a baby Vick's Rub that seems to help my son.

i always keep track of the length of running nose and coughing, especially the coughing and any fever. if they get an initial fever and it goes away but it comes back during the cold then it could be something else and the dr's usually like to see them at that point.
what i have done is call my dr to get some specifics from them. nothing else they can reassure you that you are doing all you can for your little guy and he just has to tough it out. sad i know.
what my dr has told me is during the day to let them cough and drip. coughing is your body trying to get rid of the phlegm. and that at night if the child wasn't getting rest because of the coughing to give them delsym.
but with all the information they have come out with recently about meds and young kids, i would trust your instincts and do what you feel is right and if you trust your ped i would get some clear guidlines from them.
i've had to call so many times with my two just to remember the same things they have told me so many times..lol but they don't mind that's what they are there for ;-))
good luck..it's hard when they are sick but lost of fluids and tlc and cuddling is always best.

oh and stay away from milk products that just produces more phlegm and more coughing

I make a homemade cough syrup that seems to help. Have been giving it to my kids for 24 years. Slice an onion real thin and put in a plastic container. Sprinkle brown sugar over it until covered. Place in refrigerator overnight or for several hours. The juice will come out of the onion and mix with the brown sugar and make a bit of a syrup. The longer it sets the stronger the syrup and the better the syrup. An onion is a natural antibiotic and also anesthetic (helps with pain). I think I got those big words right. :) My kids would actually ask for it as they got older. The taste may be strong the longer it sets but the kids will get used to it. May add a little honey if needed. Hope this helps.

It could be RSV- DS woke up one morning at 6mo and had a nasty "old man" sounding cough- it was a wet, heavy cough. When in doubt always call the doc- the worst they can do is take a look at him and say "its nothing", but if it IS something they can take steps to get him better. When my son had RSV they gave him an inhaler to use, and did a breathing treatment at the hospital.

If it is more of a barky cough it could be croup. Taking him out all bundled up in the cool night air will help calm the croupy cough.

I just wanted to let u know what I used to do when my kids got sick with the cough and stuff when they were little. You may think it sounds alittle weird but all u have to do is take some of your baby vaporub and put it on their feet and put their socks over them and leave it on for an hour or so and it helps clear up all the congestion and cough and runny noses it really does work, I still use it the kids when the get sick now and they r 20, 17 and 15. Good Luck

This will help at night - put a blanket or pillow underneath the mattress of his crib to prop it up a bit. This helps with the post-nasal drip and will help him sleep better. You can also purchase a "crib wedge" which slips underneath the sheet and allows them to sleep on an incline.

I also use one of those vapor plug-ins with my kids, but I'm not sure of the age recommendations, but you can check on the package.

We had the same situation - but we ended up going to the doctor to find out my son-11 months had a terrible sinus and ear infection. He was put on antibiotics and is now on the second stream. Still coughing and sick. I would go to the doctor just to make sure it is not something more serious. They should never make you feel bad for checking, especially with so many serious bugs out there!

I would continue doing what you're doing, but try putting the Baby Vaporub on his feet and then putting socks over them. I know it sounds crazy, but my kids have both been sick and this is the only thing that stopped their cough. I also second the vapor plugs. I use the children's sudacare vapor plugs.

Try putting baby vaporub on the bottom of feet and put sock on it works!! sounds funny but it works.

My 6-month-old is battling the exact same thing! We did go to the doctor, and he gave us a perscription for albuterol, which is medicine given through a nebulizer (asthmatics use them a lot). It helps when he is wheezing, but he still has a horrible cough and congested nose. I have found that "pounding" on his back with a cupped hand helps to break up his cough a little bit. Also, I have stopped using the humidifier for the last couple of nights and that seems to be helping, too. I turn it on for naps to ease his congestion. Other than that, I am not-so-patiently trying to wait it out as well. I hope this helps!

I'd call the doc, esp if the nose is clear it may be RSV. 6months is to young to wait and see IMO.

i dont know how much milk you give him, but that is a big factor in mucus.
if the snot is green, you may have to give in and go to the doc's.

If the cough lasts more than a week or comes with a fever, I would take him to the doctor just to see if he has bronchitis or pneomonia. The runny nose will probably be there for awhile. One of the viruses going around seems to take about 2 weeks to get out of the system. I just bought kleenex with lotion in it and some all natural cough suppressant. Good luck!

i would take him to the doctor just in case. My daughter, 4 mo. Had the same thing and the doctor told me if i waited any longer it could have turned in to rsv or pneumonia. He put her on antibiotics and she seems to be feeling better, still coughing but not as much.

Brittany g.

If your son is only 6 months old, you should atleast call your dr. and tell them about the cough. It could be RSV and you don't want to let that go unattended.

I was told to try putting the vicks vaporub on the bottom of their little feet with socks on at night. I haven't had a chance to try this yet - but I've heard it works wonders!

Well got a email about rubbing the Vick's on the feet and then putting on the socks and it would stop the cough. So one evening after hacking and hacking I tried it...and it works. So you might give this a try. Good luck.
Grnadma A.
a little about me.....Mom to 3 DD & 1 DS and Grandma to 15

I haven't had the opportunity to personally try this (thankfully) but I did read about a study where 100% of the time that vaporub was applied to the bottoms of little ones' feet (I know, sounds crazy), the night-time coughing abated.

I would try this and see if it works for the coughing.

Welcome to the club! It seems like all the kids I know, including my three ( 6yrs, 4yrs and 9 mo) and going through the same thing. If your son has a fever and sounds"juicy" I would bring him into the doctor. I just brought mine in and they put them on a nebulizer. Something I have found to help the cough is to put Vicks on their feet and then slip their socks on. Don't ask me why it helps the cough, but it does. If he sounds as bad as you say, I would take him in. Over the past 3 days I have heard of kids in my small town diagnosed with RSV, influenza, croup, and bronchitis. I believe that the cold viruses going around are nothing to play around with.
Good Luck!

Take that baby to the doctor! You don't want it to get worse and turn into Croup! Don't let your doctor blow you off either. Mother's know best. If you are worried enough to write other moms you should be going to the doctor. Good luck and I hope your baby is better soon.

Go with him into the bathroom and close the door. Turn the shower on HOT until the room gets steamy and have him take deep breaths for 10-15 minutes. It won't eliminate the cough, but it will quiet it for some time. Unfortunately there's not much else that can be done. My 10yo son suffered with a cough for about 2 1/2 weeks in late December and this helped...especially at night.

Whoops! Didn't look at the age of your son--this obviously works better for older children!

Actually, I just talked with my doctor about my 7month old who was having the same issue this week. The doctor assured me that I could buy childrens Sudafed. (behind the pharmacy counter) I was instructed to give my son 1/2 a teaspoon (even the pharmacist verified that based on my childs weight) twice a day....once in the morning and once before bed. So, there is no chance of overdoosing. After doing that for 2 nights, and running the vaporizer during naps and at night my sons cough had almost completely disapeared. Not to mention that his nose is barely running anymore. So, I would recommend it. I know that the over the counter cold meds are not to be given, but I did get my doctors approval, and I did have the pharmacist verify the dosage.
It worked for us....and trust us, his nose and cough were really, really bad.
Good luck!!

I agree about the steamy shower trick. It's like a vaporizer on steroids and works pretty quickly. Just close the bathroom door and run the shower on just hot and sit in the bathroom with baby while it fills with steam. In a few minutes you should notice his nose is noticeably clearer (yours too!) and it should give him relief for several hours. That trick helped my baby when he was fussy in the night from being congested and he was able to finish the night sleeping peacefully.

I also agree about calling the doctor, especially if it has been dragging on, if he seems to have ear pain or if his mucus is greenish.

A Doctor friend of mine from India who uses many home remedies suggests rubbing Vicks on the bottom of the feet and then putting socks on. The cough should be better in minutes. Give it a shot.

I have put vicks vapor rub on my boys feet, then socks.
It really helps with the cough. I know it sounds silly, but it does work.

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