Moms Know Best
As a parent, you know the difference between a mild common cold and something more serious. If you suspect your child is seriously ill, don’t hesitate to visit the doctor or emergency room.
Additionally, if your child has symptoms that can be most effectively treated using traditional medicine, go that route to ensure your child’s safety. For example, if they are running a fever, the main treatment should be giving them children’s Advil or Tylenol.
If they have a mild cold, however, you can resist your first instinct to give them over the counter cold medications and try some all natural cold remedies to help relieve their symptoms.
Although there are no actual known cures, there are things you can do to make your child feel more comfortable and make the cold easier to bear as it rides its course.
Gargling with Salt Water
Provided your child is at least 4-years-old, gargling with salt water can aid a sore throat and also help clear mucus. For the most effective treatment, dissolve half a teaspoon of salt in a small glass of warm water.
If your child is young, it may be best to let them gargle with plain water first. After they’ve mastered this, have them try the salt water mixture.
Taking a Steam Bath
A practitioner at my doctor’s office swears by steam baths for colds above anything else. As well as being relaxing for your child, a steam bath can help a cold by loosening the mucus in their nose.
While you are supervising your child, you could enhance their relaxation by talking, singing or reading to them.
Eating Chicken Soup
It may sound like an old-fashioned remedy, but chicken soup really does have medicinal properties. As well as being the ultimate comfort food, it can clear congestion and provide hydration to flush out bugs.
I personally prefer to make chicken soup from scratch. This is especially a great option if you have a family recipe that has been handed down through the generations.
However, if you don’t really cook in this busy day and age it is reassuring to know that canned soups actually have the same beneficial properties when it comes to colds. So heat up a can, give them some soda crackers to nibble on, and watch the color return to their face.
Applying Vapor Rub
I have mixed feelings when it comes to using branded vapor rubs as I have sensitive skin and also find the smell a bit overpowering. They are also not recommended for children under 2-years-old.
However, because vapor rubs help relieve symptoms and thus help improve sleep, a suggestion (if, like me, you can’t get on with branded ones) is to make your own version which you can use as a chest and neck rub for your child.
Make your own vapor rub by simply adding one drop each of peppermint, eucalyptus and sage essential oils to two tablespoons of good quality olive oil.
Keeping your kid properly hydrated is vital when they have a cold and will increase their defense system. The most natural drink they can have if they are over 1-year-old is water, but other recommendations include ginger ale or diluted fruit juice in moderation.
Sucking popsicles can be a slightly more fun way for your kid to take in liquids, plus it’ll help soothe their throats.
Honey can not only help ease a child’s cough, it can help with the tummy ache they may be experiencing as part of the cold. (It should only be consumed by a child over 1-year-old, though.)
Try giving your child one teaspoon occasionally or, to add a bit of beneficial vitamin C in drink form, you could add honey with a dash of lemon to some water.
While I’m not condoning keeping your child out of school or pre-school for the entire duration of their cold (normally one to two weeks), if childcare is not an issue I see nothing wrong in them having a couple of days off in the initial stages of their cold.
Having plenty of sleep and rest will encourage both them and you to feel more relaxed and will also reduce the risk of the cold being passed on to their classmates. Rest will also allow your child to get their much needed energy levels back up at a faster rate.
If, like my kids, they refuse to stay in their bedrooms, encourage them to lie on the couch or do gentle activities such as reading a book or doing a jigsaw.
Parenting (Food (and Drinks) That Soothe Sick Kids)
Healthline (Is Vicks Vapor Rub Safe for My Baby’s Feet?)
Home Remedy (22 Home Remedies for Cough in Kids)
Baby Center (Safe Home Remedies to Soothe Your Child’s Cold and Flu Symptoms)
ABC News (Chicken Soup Really Is Good for a Cold)
Health Central (6 Health Benefits of Honey)