The first thing you should do if your 7-month-old infant has a persistent cough is talk to your child's pediatrician. A cough could be a sign of a serious condition such as bronchitis, whooping cough or pneumonia. More likely, however, your baby is suffering from a minor malady such as the common cold or allergies. In that case, your focus will be on symptom relief. Many cough remedies are not safe for children under one year old, but there are a few home remedies you can try.
Use a cool mist humidifier in your baby's room at night. The moist air will help reduce irritation of the throat, lungs and mucus membranes and allow your child to sleep easier. You can add a few drops of menthol or essential oil of eucalyptus or pine for further relief. For some coughs, a shorter exposure to hot humid air can help. Take your child into your bathroom, close all doors and windows, and turn on the shower to its hottest setting. Let your baby inhale the moist warm air for about 20 minutes. KidsHealth.com recommends this treatment for "barky" or "croupy" coughs in particular.
Vapor rubs provide a cooling sensation that can help relieve coughing in infants older than 3 months. Common over-the-counter rubs for children include ingredients such as parabens and petroleum products. Natural vapor balms use beeswax and essential oils instead. Active ingredients usually include eucalyptus and sometimes camphor or menthol. You can even make your own rub at home. Do not apply vapor rubs to broken skin or anywhere on the face.
Giving your baby plenty of fluids keeps her hydrated and comfortable and helps speed her recovery. It also helps thin mucus secretions and keeps the throat lubricated. Plain water, breast milk or formula and fruit juice are all suitable cold choices. You can also try giving your baby sips of chicken broth or chamomile tea.
Remedies to Avoid
Do not give your child any over-the-counter cough remedies. The Food and Drug Administration has recommended that parents avoid all over-the-counter cold medications for children under 2 years old. While a spoonful of honey can be soothing to a cough in children older than 1, honey should never be given to a 7-month-old, because it can contain deadly botulism spores.
- BabyCenter.com; Eleven Safe Home Remedies to Soothe Your Child's Cold and Flu Symptoms; Karen Miles
- KidsHealth.com; Your Child's Cough; Yamini Durani; May 2011
- U.S. Food and Drug Administration: FDA Recommends that Over-the-Counter (OTC) Cough and Cold Products not be used for Infants and Children under 2 Years of Age