The school year has started and that means that pretty soon, whether you like it or not, you’re most likely going to be searching for the best cold remedy out there pretty soon. Trying to help your child when they are sick can be one of the hardest things a parent faces. When it comes to kid’s health, not every childhood plague can be cured with a trip to the doctor’s office. Take the common cold for example: it’s one of those little medical marvels that spreads rapidly and has no cure. It brings with it the misery of sinus congestion, wreaks havoc on little throats, and can cause all sorts of mischief with tiny ears and lungs.
The good news is, there are things you can do to help your child feel more comfortable while they endure this uninvited little happiness hijacker. While there’s no exactly way how to cure a cold Check City has compiled seven of the best cold remedies to get you through the stress of parenting a child who is miserable with cold!
1. Over-the-counter cold medications
Pay close attention to the age limits on cold medications. If your child is under the age of 4, pretty much every label will recommend that you seek the advice of a doctor before dispensing a dose to your baby. Even for older children, it can sometimes be safer to try home cold remedies first, and only use a medication with the guidance of your physician.
However, there are many good over the counter medications that can help with congestion, coughing and sinus pain. If you think your tiny one is struggling more than usual and could benefit from medicinal help, don’t hesitate to call your local health center.
2. Keep your child home
The common cold is contagious, and as much as our society loves the convenience of crowdsourcing these days, shared illness is not on the list of preferred contributions! It’s always a good idea to keep your school-aged children home to avoid infecting other kids in their class.
A cold is contagious for the first three to four days after symptoms appear. However, if symptoms do not start improving after a week, this can indicate a bacterial infection, which will require more time at home and possibly some antibiotics. The added rest a child gets from being at home can help them recover faster, so they can return to school sooner.
3. Hydration is Key!
Your child will need to stay hydrated in order to recover quickly and completely. Any fluid is better than no fluid at all: water is great, juice and electrolyte replacements are fine. Try to avoid soda where possible. One great trick for keeping your child hydrated—give them popsicles. Sugar free popsicles are even better as they won’t feed any bacteria that may be trying to set up home in tiny throats.
Another great way to keep them hydrated and nourished is to use the old tried-and-true cold remedy; chicken soup. The warm chicken broth will sooth them, and may also have anti-inflammatory affects and relieve soreness. (Add their favorite noodles for fun. The carbs will ensure your child’s body has access to the glucose it needs to keep working away!)
4. Help your child breathe with a cool-mist humidifier
You can help cure a cold by clearing out your child’s congested nasal cavities by running a cool-mist humidifier in their room. Steam from a shower can also help sooth your little one’s cold symptoms.
5. Make sure your child gets plenty of sleep
One of the best cold remedies for your kids is sleep. Depending on their age, children need anywhere from 8 to 12 hours of sleep every night, and when they’re sick, they need even more.
Sleep is perhaps one of the best ways to get over the cold, because it accelerates the healing process. In fact, making sure your child gets enough sleep every night is a good way to lower their chances of getting sick in the future.
6. Treat mild fevers with a mild fever-reducer
Most of the time, it’s better to let your child’s body go through the natural process of healing itself. This means letting a fever run its course. However, if a fever is causing your child to lose sleep or feel nauseated, you can give a mild fever-reducer like ibuprofen or Tylenol (acetaminophen). Just be sure to read the label carefully for age restrictions and proper dosages. Never give your child aspirin; it has been shown to cause Reye’s syndrome in children, which can be quite serious.
7. Higher fevers warrant a trip to the doctor
If your child’s fever gets up to 103°F, call your doctor. Also, if your child is under 6 months, it’s a good idea to call a doctor for any fever, even a mild one.
If any of the symptoms of your child’s cold linger past a week, or if you’re worried at all about their condition, it’s a good idea to play it safe and call your doctor to set up an appointment. If in doubt, always consult your health care professional.