Your 16-month-old baby has her first nasty cold of the season. But drugmakers have recalled the only remedy you know - infant cold and cough medicines - because of the danger of overdose.
Don't panic. Although there is no cure, several natural therapies can stimulate your baby's immune system to fight the virus.
¢ Encourage fluids, especially chicken soup and chamomile tea, to help alleviate respiratory symptoms.
¢ Lavender is especially soothing for a cough, said Liat Ben Yakov, an integrative holistic therapist in Chicago. Spread a mixture of 1 ounce of almond oil, three or four drops of lavender and two drops of lemon on a baby's chest or upper back.
¢ Almonds, papaya and pears can help coughs, said Christie Jordan, a traditional Chinese medicine practitioner in Chicago. Garlic has antibacterial properties and can help detoxify the body.
¢ Avoid refined sugar - it depresses the immune system - and fruit juices. Also eliminate milk and dairy products, which tend to increase mucus.
¢ Check out "Smart Medicine for a Healthier Child" (Avery, $21.95), a parents' guide to illness using nutritional supplements, herbs, homeopathy, acupressure, diet and conventional medicine.
¢ Babies with clogged noses tend to breathe through their mouths, which makes the cough worse, said Dr. Khanh-Van Le-Bucklin, an academic pediatrician at the University of California, Irvine. She recommends using a humidifier because moisture helps relieve nasal congestion and calm coughs.
¢ Because small babies can't blow their nose, saline drops can loosen the mucus to help it drain or to make it easier for parents to suction it out with a suction bulb.