Children illnesses can be extremely stressful for parents. With medications for cold and cough being taken off the market for kids under the age of four, it becomes more difficult to manage the situation. Kids have an agonizing time when they are sick with cold, and it can also be painful for parents when they have to see their child suffering. Following a few tips can make yours and your child’s life easier when he or she has cold, and speed up the recovery process without any medication.
1. Saline nasal spray
Using a saline nasal spray is one of the safest and most effective ways to clear congestion. Nasal saline drops or a spray is a great choice for anyone, be it infants, children or adults. A saline spray is a saltwater solution and contains no medication, which makes it an ideal choice for infants and kids who are still too young for over-the-counter medications. This solution moistens the nasal passages and irrigates the sinuses, thereby helping to loosen mucous congestion and making it easier to breathe. Carefully administer the whole process if you are using saline drops on infants.
Pour in a couple of drops in one nostril, and use a bulb syringe suction in the nostril so as to suck out the thinned mucous. Repeat on the other nostril. If it is an older child, he or she may be asked to blow the nose gently. Many brands of saline nasal sprays are available in the market, though you can make your own at home as well. Even though, this home remedy is an effective, safe and inexpensive way to treat kid’s cold, there are a couple of drawbacks. The major downside is that the effects of using a nasal spray are short-lived. It is a temporary solution and needs to be repeated frequently. Another problem is the difficult administration because kids usually resist, making it difficult to put the drops into their nostrils. There is a little struggle involved, but it is all worth it.
2. Use a humidifier
Kids usually get cold during winter months. Temperatures are low outside and so is humidity. Moreover, the centrally air-conditioning heaters, makes the air inside the house dry. Dry air causes more congestion because there is no moisture. Using a humidifier in your kid’s room is indeed a good idea. Humidifier would restore moisture in the air, which will in turn moisten your child’s nasal passages, making easier for him/her to breathe. Cool mist humidifier is recommended as opposed to a warm mist humidifier as the latter is known to cause burns in children. You should however be utmost careful that the humidifier is cleaned every single day, lest more severe infections are caused.
3. Get adequate rest
Rest is most crucial for our bodies to recover, when we fall sick. When kids get sick with cold, they should have ample amount of rest so that they can recover faster. While it is easier in case of infants, it usually gets difficult to tame the older lot. However, it is important to limit their physical and mental activities. Kids should not be sent to school, coaching classes or for playing out. They should be encouraged to stay in the bed for as long as possible and move around a little only when they are feeling slightly better.
4. Increase the consumption of fluids
During an illness, we somehow do not feel the need to drink water often, either because we are not moving enough or we often get a bad taste in the mouth. However, staying hydrated is more important when you are sick, lest your body gets devoid of essential salts, electrolytes etc. When your child has a cold, make sure he or she drinks enough fluids including plain water, fresh fruit juices, electrolyte drinks, multivitamin drinks, green tea, herbal teas etc. Fresh lemon juice in a warm cup of water mixed with a tablespoon of honey benefits a lot. Lemon juice is laden with vitamin c, which is very beneficial in cold conditions. Sodas and other unhealthy beverages should be strictly avoided.
5. Time for medical intervention
It often gets confusing for parents to decide what all medications can be safely taken by children. It is recommended that no medication should be given to children below the age of 4 for cold, but it is okay to have some medicine for fever or pain. Usually Tylenol and ibuprofen are considered safe options. Also, cold is usually a minor illness and does not need a medical intervention. But be mindful of your child’s symptoms. If symptoms deteriorate or persist for too long, especially high fever, chills, fatigue, decreased amount of urine, then a visit to a physician is highly recommended.