The Common Cold

What is a cold?

  • A cold is a mild contagious viral disease which infects the soft lining (mucous membrane) of the nose. There are more than 100 different viruses which can result in a cold. The characteristic symptom is a runny nose.
  • Usually, it is a mild condition, recovery taking place within about a week. However, sometimes the same symptoms occur with other illnesses like influenza.
  • It is most common during the cold winter months and affects children and adults of all ages.
  • Most people will catch a cold two to four times a year.
  • The younger the child the more frequently they seem to catch a cold with most children averaging four to eight colds a year.
  • This is a mild disease that can be seen as way of strengthening young and immature immune systems.
  • Many children suffer with recurrent colds in the first few months after starting pre-school or day care where they constant contact with various viruses is new to them and their immune system has not adequately learnt how to respond. Once the immune system is more mature and has had some practice it will be better able to fight off stronger more aggressive infections that may come along.

How do we catch a cold?

A person is contagious from the day before the illness breaks out until one to three days after they feel better. The infection is spread by airborne droplets when the sufferer coughs or sneezes. It can also be spread by hand if someone has the virus on their hands and then puts them close to their eyes or nose. This is possibly the most common way of catching a cold.

What are the symptoms of a cold?

  • A sore throat .
  • Sneezing.
  • The nose begins to run with a water-like secretion which gradually becomes thicker and more yellow.
  • The virus is more contagious when the watery secretions are copious and becomes less contagious as the secretions become thicker and yellow. As the mucous membrane of the nose swells it may be hard to breathe through the nose.
  • Sometimes a baby may show signs of ear pain.
  • Coughing .
  • A temperature.


Secondary bacterial infections such as:

  • Pneumonia
  • Bronchitis
  • Sinusitis
  • Ear infections

What can you do?

  • Give the child plenty of rest and relaxation time. Help the baby’s body conserve energy for fighting the infection.
  • Fresh air- Breathing clean fresh air is important for the health and vitality of the child’s respiratory system. Avoid stuffy overheated rooms.
  • Avoid medications that dry mucous or suppress a cough. This is the body’s way of shedding the virus.
  • Give lots of fluids. Breast milk is best because it likely that the mother will have had exposure to the same virus and so will be making antibodies to the virus in the milk. A highly fluid diet will help to keep the mucous secretions thin and more able to be released by coughing thus lessening the chances of contracting a secondary bacterial infection.


  • See Using aromatherapy with Infants for general guidelines and safe usage instructions.
  • Steam treatments are great for colds as they help to carry the oils directly to the airways and also provide warm moist air that is soothing and de congesting.
  • The best oils to use are eucalyptus, lavender, tea tree, grape fruit and lavender. Choose from those oils that are appropriate to the baby’s age.
  • To use with a humidifier, you can add an appropriate amount of the aromatherapy oil to in the dish on the outside of the humidifier. Do not add it to the water inside the humidifier.
  • Add to a spray bottle- Add 9 drops of essential oil to 30 ml of water in a spray bottle and spay around the house.
  • Aromatherapy bath-Add appropriate oils to a warm bath.
  • Add oils to your baby’s clothes or cot.


See Using reflexology on your baby for general guidelines and safe usage instructions.

This is routine for all respiratory ailments such as asthma, hay fever and colds

This routine can be given daily for acute conditions such as colds and is also good to use during a period of high frequency asthma attacks and 2-3 times per week for more chronic conditions respiratory tract problems such as asthma prevention or hay fever.

1. Begin by relaxing the foot with relaxation techniques and end with a thumb press on the solar plexus point in both feet.

2. Use the chart to locate and work on the points suggested below:

  • Entire chest region
  • Lungs and chest
  • Bronchial area
  • Diaphragm
  • Lymph drainage/chest
  • Thymus
  • Ridge of the shoulder and neck line
  • All of the toes especially the middle third of each toe
  • Throat and the tonsils
  • Pituitary
  • Spleen
  • Ileocecal valve
  • Adrenals
  • Ovaries/testicles
  • Uterus and prostate
  • Lymph and groin

3. End by doing relaxation techniques and thumb press on the solar plexus point in both feet.


See Using homoeopathy for Infants for general guidelines and safety considerations.


  • This cold often appears after getting chilled or being exposed to a dry cold wind
  • A dry, barking, hoarse irritating cough
  • Fast breathing
  • Symptoms are worse for dry cold wind
  • All the air passages are irritated

Allium cepa

  • Runny nose looks as though it burns your baby’s skin
  • Eyes water constantly
  • Sneeze often


  • There is high fever
  • Comes on suddenly and fiercely
  • The cough is barking, dry, exhausting and hard. Babies may cry in anticipation of the cough to come.
  • Coughing usually comes in fits


  • The cold quickly moves into the chest and has become largely a cough.
  • Nose is stuffed up
  • Eating or drinking can make the cough worse
  • Worse for movement
  • Better for fresh air


  • Brought on by weather changing from hot to cold
  • Profuse, watery discharge from nose and eyes
  • May develop into conjunctivitis
  • Nasal discharge worse in warm room


  • A stuffy nose and thick yellow discharge
  • Symptoms are worse at night
  • Baby is better for comfort and attention

Spongia tosta

  • This is the main croup remedy
  • Constant, dry barking cough
  • Hoarse voice
  • Better for eating and drinking
  • Breathing is difficult and sounds loud
  • Symptoms are worse after a sleep