When a child becomes sick with a cold, most parents are quick to go to the nearest pharmacy where they can purchase cold medicine. However, the American Academy of Pediatrics has advised against this, as many of the medications which are used to treat colds are not safe for children who are under the age of 2, and may harm children who are under the age of 6. If your child has the cold or flu, there are a number of safer and effective alternatives for treatment. Below is a list of them.
Give the child lots of rest
Typically, it will take a child about ten days to get rid of a cold or flu. To do this they will need energy to fight off the infection, and to gain this energy they must rest. When your child rests, their body is healing. The child should also avoid stress and anxiety, as it can make it harder for them to fight the infection. They should remain relaxed as much as possible.
Provide air full of moisture
When the air is full of moisture, it allows the mucus within the nasal passages to become loose. A warm bath or shower is one way to create moisture, but it can be sustained with a humidifier. Humidifiers are inexpensive devices that can be purchased at most pharmacies. However, they should be cleaned regularly in the manner suggested by the manufacturer. The reason for this is because they can collect mold, which they will release into the air if they’re not properly cleaned.
Give them chicken soup
Some pediatricians have said that chicken soup treats the cold better than many cold medicines. One reason for this is because chicken soup restricts the ability of neutrophils to move. Neutrophils are a type of white blood cell, and they are responsible for protecting the body against infection. Because chicken soup restricts the migration of these cells within the body, it alleviates the cold symptoms which are found in the upper respiratory system. The hot liquid found in chicken soup also appears to enhance the mobility of nasal mucus, which also relieves cold symptoms.
For babies and children too young to blow their own noses, saline drops can clear out the nasal passages. Bulb syringes are excellent for babies when their nose is stuffy and it interferes with their ability to breastfeed.
Gargle with salt water
This should only be done with children that are at least 4 years of age. Gargling salt water has been shown to alleviate both cold symptoms and sore throats. The reason for this is because it clears mucus from the throat, which reduces pain. The salt water should be warm, rather than hot or cold. Doctors aren’t exactly sure why this remedy works, but it does.
These are just a few of the many cold remedies that are available. Not only are most of these remedies cheaper than over-the-counter medications, they are also safer and more effective. Parents with questions should contact us at ENT for Children for more information.