Baby Has Infection or Just a Cold? Natural Remedies to Help?

Updated on March 27, 2008
M.L. asks from Kingston, NH
25 answers

My son is 15 months old and has had a cold most of the winter. It seems like his nose has been runny except for maybe a total of a 10 days or so, for the whole winter! I've thought is was just many colds kind of running together so I couldn't tell the end of one from the beginning of a new one. The thing that has me debating about taking him to the dr. is that the discharge is yellow/green about half the time. Could this be an infection? He seems happy and otherwise healthy. No other symptoms to speak of. Does anyone have any advice? Are there any good natural remedies to help clear it up once and for all? Thanks.

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So What Happened?

Thank you so much to all the other caring moms out there. I'm going to give some of the ideas like humidifier, different teas, and saline spray a try. He's had teeth coming in since october and he's working on a couple molars right now. So if things aren't better after those pop are though and using the other suggestions you all made, I'll take him to the dr. Thanks again!

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S.L.

answers from Boston on

Yellow/green is usually an infection, but also ask about allergies. If they go on continually it can contribute to sinus infections.

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C.R.

answers from Boston on

In general, clear discharge is allergies - the nose clearing out dust or pollen or chemicals, when the discharge is green or yellow, it is an infection - viral or bacterial. To determine if its a cold or something more serious you need to be aware of other symptoms.

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M.G.

answers from Hartford on

M., a discharge of yellow or green can be an infection and possilby a sinus infection if it has gone on this long. My son was the same way this winter, we visited th docotor more than my M. and that is saying a lot! I would take him in if I were you, just to be safe.

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K.A.

answers from Barnstable on

M.,

I am a Nutritional Microscopist, someone who uses a holistic approach while working with people to restore their health. I see so many toddlers with constant runny nose and fatigue. This can be due to many things, but what this tells us is that there is an imbalance in the body. This is caused by stress to the body. It can be a physical or emotional stress. Usually, this is a stress cuased by certain foods. Things like sugar, dairy and animal protein can actually supress the immune system and cause various symptoms. The way I look at it, a runny nose is the body's way of getting rid of toxins through mucus. When I take kids off of dairy including cheese, yogurt, etc., I see a huge difference in their health. The runny noses stop, the bowel movements are better and their overall energy and mood improves. I would try giving your son plenty of water (no added juice), reduce or completely eliminating sugar and dairy for a while(including sugars from fruits, dairy, grains and of course, candy and sweets). Now you are asking, well what do I give him? Plenty of green vegetables! Low sugar fruits like avocado, tomato and grapefuit. He will probably fuss because he will want sugar, but it is in his best interest to give him foods like fresh, raw (or very lightly steamed) asparagus, kale, broccoli, spinach and others. And as far as fats go, try cold-pressed plant fats such as avocado, olive, coconut and flax oil on his food. If you are looking for yummy recipes you can go to www.http://www.phmiracleliving.com/search/index.php?categ...
You can also contact me for more information at [email protected]____.com. I am located in Osterville, MA
Best of luck!

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L.E.

answers from Hartford on

Hi M.,

DISCLAIMER: I'm going to recommend a health food product to you that my family uses and I also sell. However, because it's really important to me that you know that I'm offering this advice as a mother, and not because I own this business, and I don't want you to think that I'm soliciting you, I'm actually going to recommend that if you do want to try the product, that you go to the company's website instead of mine, just so you know that I'm sincere and that I'm not just trying to sell you something. In other words, if you do choose to try this for your son, it won't benefit me in the slightest, but it will benefit you greatly!

NOW FOR MY ADVICE: First of all, I'm sorry to hear that your little one is sick so much of the winter. That must be hard to watch. My friend Denise has three children (just like I do), and her middle child was diagnosed with asthma when she was just about a year old. Another friend kept telling her that it was probably her diet, and she needed to try adding more fruits and vegetables to her diet in the form of Juice Plus (a capsule full of fruit and vegetable powders), and Denise didn't really listen, because she was already feeding her daughter healthy foods, including plenty of fruits and vegetables. However, after putting this child on the nebulizer several times a day for weeks at a time in the winter, Denise finally decided that she had nothing to lose, and she ordered some Juice Plus. She started opening the capsules and sprinkling them into her daughter's bottles and/or her yogurt or her pudding, or whatever. After two weeks, she was able to wean her daughter from the nebulizer, and now, five years later, that child has used the nebulizer less than a dozen times total! When Denise saw how this was working with her daughter, it really opened her eyes and she wanted to learn as much as she could about why it worked so well. When she did some research, she decided to put her whole family on it, and then she told me about it. I was a couple of weeks post partum with my third baby, and I just wanted something that would give me the energy I needed to keep up with two toddlers and a newborn! My whole family has been eating it for almost five years, and I've told many other people about it since then, and now there are thousands of people whose health has been improved (and plenty who were incredibly health to begin with, but they just know that adding more fruits and vegetables is the best thing they can do for themselves and their families. Dr. Bill Sears recommends Juice Plus on his website (he devotes four pages of his Family Nutrition section about why his family uses it and how it's changed the way he practices medicine).

Juice Plus is offered in capsules, chewable tablets and gummies.

The company's generic website is www.juiceplus.com. You can order it there, and they will forward you to a random distributor who will take care of your customer service and make sure you're happy.

One other way I would be happy to help you is to tell you about a local group called the Holistic Moms' Network. We meet on the last Wednesday of every month, and we are a community of caregivers that helps each other rear our children in the healthiest ways we can, and also we have speakers that come in and share information with us on topics related to our general well-being and living well. The website for information on that group is www.holisticmoms.org.

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M.V.

answers from Boston on

M. I have heard that children get about 12 colds a year so that in its self is not a worry.The thing that does concern me is the yellow green discharge.When my granddaughter had this my daughter took her to the doctors and it turned out to be an infection which she needed antibiotics for. I would visit your doctor even if it is just to put your mind at rest.I am sure if your child does not need medication then the doctor will say so.
Regards M.

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L.C.

answers from Barnstable on

Hi M.,

Just a tidbit....My daughter now almost 2 1/2 has been getting colds about one every 3 or 4 months or so, so I consider her pretty healthy all around. I have found that the homeopathic remedy by Boiron used for teething, I believe its called Chamomilla, (or something close) works excellent at relieving cold symptoms. I read about it in the book, "Natural Baby" which is great. The remedy comes in a small plastic tube that you squirt in their mouth. I also have worried about the color of the runny stuff and was told by my pediatrician that color of yellow or green doesn't always necessarily spell infection. He also told me that a cold virus can last for up to 3 wks, anything longer than that is usually something more than just a cold. Hope this helps.

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S.A.

answers from Springfield on

Hello M.,
My family and I have been taking a natural product and we know lots of children and adults that are taking it.
We have seen this work with different illness and infections and all I can recommend is for you to take a look at it, you have nothing to lose and everything to gain. We have seen this product work first hand with children in and out of our home.
www.changingpeopleslives.biz

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R.B.

answers from Boston on

Did you child ever have gastric reflux? All you need to do is reflux a couple times a week, and it can cause havoc with the throat and nose.

Also, do you run a humidifier in the winter? The winter is very drying and could cause sinus issues.

As far as "is it a cold or an infection," your doctor would be the best judge. Have you tried saline nasal solution to try to clean out the nose? Saline solution (like Ocean Drops) is safe for all.

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S.C.

answers from Bangor on

There are so many things that can contribute to wellness. About a year ago, I saw a Today show that was done by 2 stay at home moms who made me aware of natural alternatives. I've switched my home over to all safer cleaners, vitamins, etc... for overall wellness. This has made a huge difference for my family. You can go to my website to see more about the products that I've been using & see stories of more families whose wellness is amazing as a result. It's www.collins.advancingwithus.com or you can go to www.saferformyhome.com for great information. Hope this helps! It's not fun to have sick little ones!

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M.C.

answers from Boston on

I know things like saline rinses for children and humidifiers sometimes help. There are lots of natural remedies out there but it takes some research. I would go to a local health food store, a small one with knowledgeable employees, and see what they have. I know my local HFS (Common Crow in Gloucester) has a whole section of natural baby cold remedies and staff that help so much too.

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C.C.

answers from Hartford on

Do you use a humidifier at night? When my kids were that age, they were also seemingly perpetually sick, but the humidifier was the key remedy most of the time. Also, now that my older two are 6 and 4 1/2, we just finished up a winter with not one illness (KNOCK WOOD!), so though it's not fun now, your son will most likely be better off immune system-wise once he's school-age.

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C.B.

answers from Hartford on

Dear M.
It look like you son has an infection or alergy, do you have any animal in the house? if he has runny all the time try to give him a capsule of alfaffa vitamin are very good for alergie and cold if you could found the capsule put it with his baby food,also Alfaffa bit up their system.
GOOD LUCK AND MAY GOD BLESS

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C.C.

answers from Boston on

Hi M. -
My son literally had a runny nose from about two weeks after he was born until just recently...he is now 3.5 years old. I assumed also that it was just one cold running into the other. Looking back at pictures I realize that he literally has always had a runny nose! The discharge from his nose was definitely sometimes yellowish/green but other times it was clear so I never thought much about it. I did change all of my cleaning products to "green" products and I have taken care to keep his room and rugs and bedclothes dust free (he has never been dignosed with any particular allergies) and those measures did improve quite a bit of the overall constant nose running. This fall he had croup and then his nose really kicked in - after about a month I brought him in because he was having some sort of asthma attack as a result of coming down with a cold. At that point my Dr. who had always told me that little kids cannot get sinus infections said oh yeah, I have read a few recent studies that say infants and toddlers CAN get sinus infections and he believed in looking back at my sons records that he had in fact probably had more than one sinus infection in his life. So this time we treated it with a strong course of antibiotics (the first course he has ever been on) and he was 100% improved for two weeks. After two weeks he came down with a cold and had another asthma like episode - the Dr.s feeling was that because his sinuses had been affected for so long that it was now a trigger for him to have an asthma attack when he comes down with a cold. So - bottom line - go to the Dr. and get it checked out and if they say a sinus infection is impossible ask if they have read any recent research because that school of thought is changing because the constant runny nose eventually leads to more respiratory problems. I did also try garlic (Shaklee company product with a good reputation and I crushed it into a spoon full of yogurt. I got little result but perhaps didn't do it long enough. Good Luck

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L.M.

answers from Springfield on

Hi M.,

My son had the same thing you have described and finally we inquired about a sinus infection with our pediatration. Does he have bad breath at all? That can sometimes be indicative of a sinus infection. Anyways after a course of strong antibiotics he finally kicked it. So it was indeed an infection for my son. He really seemed to have exactly what you describe and the antibiotics happened to really help him.

Good luck!

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L.Z.

answers from Boston on

I would take him to the doctor, just to be sure. Every kid is different, so you never know. With my oldest daughter, her colds sometimes did produce a greenish runny nose, but she didn't have an infection. The two times she did have an ear infection, she didn't have the nose issue as much but had other symptoms! So you never know. My 9-month old has already had two ear infections and had a horrible nose, was sleeping poorly, and a cough. It sounds like your son probably just has a cold if he doesn't have any other symptoms, but they can surprise you, especially if you have a hearty kid who can withstand a little discomfort. Good luck!

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J.D.

answers from Boston on

Hi M.,

I've always used natural remedies with my kids and they've always worked fine. I go to Natural Marketplace in Salem, NH. They're very knowlegeable. I would check before just giving your son anything since he's so young, but from my experience they've always recommended vitamin C and echinacea/goldenseal and if there is a fever or infection involved they usually get Colloidal Silver too. Then they add other herbs depending on the symptoms - if there is a cough or something like that. Tea is really good too - Chamomile is a good choice. I would make a cup and wait until it cools off and then my kids sip it through a straw. It might take them all day to drink it, but at least they're getting it. Keep in mind that dairy can create mucous too. Doctors usually recommend to not have dairy during a cold, so maybe watch the dairy intake. Hope this helps.

Jen

D.B.

answers from Boston on

It's hard to say if there is an infection going on - the greenish color doesn't sound normal. But either way, it's NOT NORMAL or necessary to be sick all winter.

Reliv International makes patented products for liquid nutrition - the most fully absorbed - and there is a special kids product. You can't buy them in a store - you have to get them from a distributor, which allows you to get the education and support you need, get questions answered, and talk to others who have had great success. I am a distributor, and the first thing I would do is put you on the phone with a couple of other moms whose kids also had constant colds and even were on nebulizers, but who haven't been sick in the 2 years or more that they've been on Reliv. No strep, no ear infections, no flu, no nothing. Reliv supports the immune system and lets the body heal itself - no drugs, no over the counter cold medicines (which aren't safe for kids anyway), and no more miserable unhappy kids. The products are food, no drugs. They were formulated and are overseen by Dr. Carl Hastings, who was with Mead Johnson for years and oversaw the development of ProSoBee and Enfamil, the trusted and safe infant formulas. He knows his stuff, the products are guaranteed, and the company is very highly rated by Forbes, Fortune, Success magazines and DeMarche. Contact me at ###-###-#### or by email at [email protected]____.com, and I will give you more info and some other moms to talk to. No pressure, just information.

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K.B.

answers from Providence on

M.---------
It could just be symptoms from new teeth coming in------
and regarding the discharge from his nose-I always thought that if it was "green", that it was an infection--But I just asked my daughters pediatrician, and he said that the color doesn't matter, and anything coming out of the nose--is not a sign of infection. If not Teeth, what about allergies. I had allergies for years before I figured out, that what I had was not a long running cold-----But outside allergis. Good Luck.

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E.M.

answers from Boston on

Rule of thumb: Nose running clear, baby's all clear.
Nose running green, baby needs to be seen.
Take him to your pediatrician, he is showing signs of an infection. Could be mild but something is there for sure.
Ditto to the mom who recomended Ocean Mist, it's great stuff for clearing out "stuff"!

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S.K.

answers from Boston on

I have had a similar winter with my 6 month old. I just went to my well baby appointment and was told that if the snot (technical term?) became green I should come back as babies can get sinus infections. That being said I think I also read somewhere that sinus infections in babies are rare...

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E.P.

answers from Boston on

Hi M.,

Just something to consider...is he teething? I know when my babies were teething it was nonstop drool and other times it would be non-stop runny noses. Since they might be breaking in new teeth, their immune system is running high and having a hard time fighting off colds and preparing for new teeth as well since as they break through the gums, it is a new 'wound' till the teeth completely come through and 'heals'.

E. P.

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P.V.

answers from Barnstable on

Hi M...........just one quick question for you.. is he around other children with colds??? Could be his resistence is low and he'll get one if around others. This has been quite the year for flu,colds,bronchitis and pneumonia.
If you're really looking for alternatives that are not invasive @ all I would highly suggest you try an " upper cervical chiropractor ". One of my daughters, her three children and husband all go to one and we are fortunate enough to have one in our town. There are chiropractors and upper cervical chiroptractors. They don't prevent sickness but work with your cells and immune system to work through a sickness much faster.
Without writing my dr.s name and # I don't know how else to find one for you. Respond to me if you would like.

Blessings, P.

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K.K.

answers from Boston on

hi M.,

I was going to post this am, for the same reason... My son is 13 months, in daycare 4 days a week since he was 3 months, and constantly has a runny nose, sometimes yellow/green. I have been noticing lately that he is so congested he has a hard time breathing at night, causing him to move around a lot. He just had an ear infection, and finished a regimen of amoxycillin just last weekend, and still has the runny nose now. We use Ocean mist, the nasal aspirator, (which help for about 30 minutes then back to stuffy and runny) and a humidifier in the house. Our pediatrician is wonderful, but when I have brought him in he has also had a fever, which has almost always been an ear infection (has had 4 or 5 in his first year), I am going to ask her advice on this as well.
So, I don't have any advice for you, but have the same issue. Interested to hear what others have to say,
Kim

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K.S.

answers from Boston on

My daughter does very well with herbs when dealing with colds. I make teas, and give her teaspoon doses every two hours. Echinacea, Astragalus, Thyme and Licorice do wonders. You can usually find these at any grocery or health food store. I also put rosemary and eucalyptus oils on her clothing to help clear up the sinuses. Hope this helps.

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