Shower Steam Room
Treats: Nasal and chest congestion; wheezy or croupy coughs
Why use steam? "Give your child steam, steam, and more steam!" urges Dr. Sears. "Sitting near the steamy blast of a hot shower will loosen your baby's nose and chest congestion, and help your child cough it up or blow it out." Shower steam is also recognized as an effective treatment for infant croup.
How to use it:: To relieve congestion symptoms in infants and young children, turn the bathroom into a steam room by closing the bathroom door and turning the shower on full hot. Securely hold your baby well away from any contact with the scalding water and never leave your baby unattended.
"Sit there for 10 or 15 minutes," advises Dr. Sears. After your baby is comfortable, try clapping on your child's chest and back (where the lungs are) with an open hand. The clapping motion should be a bit firmer than burping. According to Dr. Sears, "this technique helps shake the mucus loose so your child can cough it up better."
Keep in mind: It's OK to rely on this regularly during the sick season. "Do 'steam cleaning' every morning and before bed, as well as during the day, if possible," says Dr. Sears.