13 Home Remedies for Cold and Flu in Babies & Kids

Cold and flu are viral infections hence antibiotics are not helpful in curing the infection. Additionally, children under the age of 6 cannot be given over the counter cold and flu medicines. This is why alternate medication (home remedies) such as garlic and turmeric can be used to make the children better. The remedies suggested below should not be tried all at once and you should be careful while using each remedy as not all of them may be suitable for your child. The paediatrician should be consulted before trying out anything new and the baby’s age should be considered while using the remedies.


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

The remedies which we are listing down work best if the child has the following symptoms:

  1. Mildly running nose
  2. Mild cough
  3. Mild 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 or her to consume more fluids.

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, then you should try to feed the baby more frequently than you do usually. The baby may not be keen to feed due to the sickness. You may want to breastfeed them in several short sessions. This is to ensure that there is enough fluid intake.

If advised by the doctor then you may give oral rehydration solution (Pedialyte) to the child.

Consult your doctor if he or she would prescribe oral rehydration (like Pedialyte). You should never give the baby any kind of sports drinks.

For older children, the hydration options are more –

  • Sports drinks
  • Popsicles
  • Fruit juice
  • Soup
  • Plain soda
  • If the baby is above the age of 1 year, then you may feed him or her honey (2-5 ml) a couple of times in a day. This helps loosen a cough.
  • Making your baby rest more can help in faster recovery.

Home Remedies

Home remedies for a toddler cold are safe, gentle and effective ways to help the baby – feel better. Here are some of them:

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 natural remedies for flu in infants.

What You Can Do

Breast milk can be fed to babies under 6 months 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 a very powerful cure for a cough and cold as they contain anti-bacterial and anti-viral properties. It is one of the best herbal remedies for cold in children.

What You Can Do

There are 3 ingredients which are used to prepare the pouch – garlic, ajwain and a fresh clean cloth, preferably muslin. 2 garlic cloves and 1 spoon of ajwain are dry roasted. Once they cool you can make the pouch with the muslin cloth. The pouch should be placed near the baby’s cot so that the smoke emerging from within the pouch will help in providing relief to the baby. It will help clear the blockage and provide relief to the baby.


The pouch should not be kept too close to the baby. This is to keep the baby from putting the pouch inside the mouth and to avoid suffocation. As an alternate, the pouch can be rubbed under the baby’s feet which can prove to be very effective.

3. Panikoora

It relieves the infant from cold and cough as it helps to secrete 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, which are shrivelled on a stove top first. Once they cool off the leaves can be placed on the forehead of the baby’s. The leaves lose moisture and dry up which indicates that the water is absorbed which relieves the infant from cold and cough.


There are no known side effects while using the Panikoora plant

4. Mustard Oil Infused with Garlic and Carom Seeds for Massage

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

What You Can Do

One fourth cup of mustard oil should be heated and then 2 garlic cloves are crushed and added to it. Once the garlic turns brown it is removed from the stove. This oil can be massaged into the baby’s chest and under the feet. You may add a little ajwain to the oil along with the garlic.


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

5. Kesar Tilak

This will help in absorbing the water from the baby’s forehead and provide relief.

What You Can Do

Make a paste with saffron or kesar and apply this at the bottom of your baby’s feet and on the forehead after dark as a tilak.


Though Kesar is safe for consumption, some infants have an adverse reaction to it such as nausea, allergic reactions and headaches. Make sure that you avoid getting it in the baby’s mouth while applying.

6. Dry Roasted Turmeric Rub

Turmeric can help in relieving the symptoms of a cold 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, if applied on the bridge of the baby’s nose, can provide relief.


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

7. Carrot Juice

Carrots contain essential nutrients and vitamins that help in boosting the immune system. This can help children fight off the cold an is one of the home remedies for toddler cold.

What You Can Do

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


Please ensure that your baby is not allergic to carrots.

8. Massage with Mustard Oil Infused with Rock Salt

The warmth provided by the mustard oil helps in relieving congestion of the throat.

What You Can Do

Warm mustard oil and mix a spoon of rock salt to it. Then massage this oil gently on the chest and back of the baby and then cover with a cotton cloth to provide warmth.


Make sure that the oil is not hot.

9. Saline Drops

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

What You Can Do

One can use a dropper to administer the drops.


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

10. Using a Humidifier

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

What You Can Do

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


Humidifiers need to be cleaned every day or it could start housing mould and bacteria which could affect your child’s health.

11. Creating a Steam Room

This will loosen the mucus and the baby will feel relieved from the congestion.

What You Can Do

You may create a steam room by running hot water in the bathroom and making the baby sit inside it for about 15 mins.


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

Lemons are filled with Vitamin C that are effective in fighting off a cold.

What You Can Do

Squeeze out the lemon juice into a glass of warm water. Add honey for taste.


Having too much of this concoction is bound to give your child a tummy ache.

While using home remedies you must also observe the child during this time for the following symptoms:

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

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

13. Gargling

Gargling with salt water can help in providing relief from cold as It helps in breaking down the mucus and reducing swelling.

What You Can Do

You should 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 and first test it yourself before letting the baby use it.

General Instructions

  • You should use only boiled and cooled water or distilled water to prevent any other infections in the baby.
  • Try the recipes on yourself first before using it on the baby.
  • Since the baby is already suffering ensure that you do not force your child in any circumstance this could lead to other complications.
  • 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 that no one else falls ill. It is a good idea to disinfect objects which are being used frequently.
  • Try to feed the baby with warm liquids which will help in flushing out the mucus, hydrate the baby and bring him or her relief.

General Precautions

  • You should avoid trying any home remedy which involves the consumption of any oil/herb or medicines for babies below 6 months. It might cause some harm.
  • Ensure that babies get 18 hrs, toddlers and kids a minimum of 8 hrs of sleep during 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.
  • Any ingredient which you are using for the first time should be checked if the child is allergic.
  • Breastfeed as much as you can. Mother’s milk has a lot of antibodies that build immunity.
  • Do not forcefully give food to your baby. Loss of appetite is common during cold and flu.
  • Your baby’s clothing during cold and flu should be according to the weather. Clothing should be in layers to keep the baby’s body warm.
  • You should keep the child away from day-care or school when they are unwell, especially when they have a fever.

The above remedies help provide relief to your little one while he is experiencing a cold. One can do a trial and error approach where one can see which is the treatment that your baby best responds to. Lastly, once the child recovers from the cold and flu it is necessary that you get into the prevention mode.