Tuesday, October 30, 2012
Natural Cold Remedies for Children
Parents should keep in mind that most remedies including cold and cough medications aren't touted to shorten the length of cold but just help manage symptoms and make children more comfortable. On average colds will last 7 to 10 days so parents should try to keep this in mind when dealing with sick children.
1) Get plenty of rest. Stress can play a role in healing, so children can definitely get benefits from staying away from school drama and homework deadlines with a few days rest at home. Fighting off infection when dealing with a cold also takes a lot of energy so make sure your little one gets plenty of rest. Setting up a little fort with extra tissues, plenty of blankets and pillows, books, magazines, and puzzles can help assist them in staying comfortable while resting.
2) Extra fluids and warm liquids. Making sure your little one is drinking plenty of fluids such as water and real fruit juices can help to keep them hydrated as well as provide some nourishment if they seem to tired to eat. On average your child should drink at least one glass of water an hour when their awake, even if it seems they keep getting up to use the restroom. Warm liquids such as chicken soup or chamomile tea can help ease sore throats as well.
3) Saline sprays and bulb syringes. Saline sprays or drops can help to clear up nasal passages for easier breathing and sleeping. For children to young to blow their nose, a bulb syringe can help to clear up nasal passages to make breast or bottle feeding a bit easier.
4) Steamy air. Steamy air can help loosen up mucus to make breathing easier, so don't hesitate to give your little one a warm bath in a steamy bathroom or stick a clean humidifier in their room to help speed things along.
5) Vapor rubs. These may not assist in breathing easier but the cold sensation helps cold sufferers feel like they are breathing more deeply. Rubs should not be applied around the nose or mouth in children under 2 as they can ingest the rub and cause problems. There are many different options for vapor rubs in children such as baby rubs specifically for children under 2 and also natural rubs that don't have parabens or petroleum which can interfere with natural hormone production.
6) Honey in children over 1 year. Honey is safe to give to children over a year old. Honey has antimicrobial properties that can help assist in fighting off infection and soothing coughs or sore throats in children. I'd recommend 1 teaspoon of honey no more than three times a day for children over 1 year old and it can also be added to bottles or warm tea to help soothe the throat and fight off infection. In a recent research review from the Cochrane Database, honey was found to be as effective as cough suppressant medications for acute cough in children. In a study from Pennsylvania State University College of Medicine, parents of 105 children ages 2-18 rated honey helpful and better than cough syrup in treating night time coughs in children.
7) Gargling or mouth rinsing with warm salt water. This can only be used in children who understand how to gargle or spit out a mouthful of salt water which usually means around 4-6 years old but some children can understand the concept sooner if they're great at imitating. It has been shown to sooth a sore throat and clear mucus as well. I'd recommend 1/2 teaspoon of salt per glass of warm water and repeat 2-3 times a day.
8) Nose Blowing. As soon as children are old enough to understand the concept of blowing their nose into a tissue which is around 2 and above, you can assist your child with blowing their nose. Make sure they blow gently into the tissue as forceful blowing can rupture blood vessels and cause a bloody nose.
9) Neti Pots using purified or bottled water. Neti pots can be used in children 4 or older. Children will have to lean over a sink so make sure you have a step stool for them to stand on while flushing out the nasal passages. Make sure you use purified or bottled water to mix with the salt solution because tap water can contain harmful bacteria that can pool in sinuses and cause further infection.
10) Elevating the head during bed time. Elevating the head with a pillow or elevating a crib mattress with a towel or slim pillow underneath can help keep stuffiness to a minimum at night time so children can sleep better. More restful sleep can also make for more pleasant children in the morning.