How do you get rid of a cold in a 4-month-old baby? There are very few medications available and I’d rather go the natural route. What can I do to get rid of his cold? Are over-the-counter medications like Zarbee’s Naturals effective?

There is no way to get rid of a cold in babies – or, in fact, in anyone. Babies will fight the cold off themselves, but there are comfort measures that you can provide. If your baby is so congested that eating and sleeping are troublesome, you can use saline nose drops or spray gently applied to each nostril followed by a bulb syringe to draw out the mucous and saline. This can relieve congestion by removing some mucous and/or reducing swelling in the nostrils. Some families like using the Nose Frida to relieve congestion. Neither of these measures should be used too frequently, as they can cause irritation. So, plan to use them only to provide relief as needed for sleeping and eating comfortably. There is no clear evidence that the agave syrup in some over the counter preparations has any impact on cold symptoms.

If your baby develops a fever, fussiness especially when lying flat, marked difficulty sucking and swallowing, it may be an ear infection is developing. In that case, it’s a good idea to see your pediatrician to have it checked out.

ABOUT THE EXPERT

Ellen Hamburger Ellen "Ellie" Hamburger, MD, cares for children from birth through adolescence, and has a particular interest in children with special needs and premature infants.

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