A sick child generally translates to a miserable household as frantic parents work to placate their under-the-weather offspring. Because the cold is the most common infectious disease, according to Kids Health, it is the primary reason kids miss school and visit the doctor. Most trips to the doctor may be unnecessary, however, particularly because there is so much a parent can do at home to ease his child’s suffering.
Nasal decongestant medications are not always safe nor proven to always work in children. Sometimes these drugs cause hallucinations, irritability and increased heart rate. Nevertheless, just because medications are risky does not mean your child has to tolerate a stuffy nose. You can harness the power of steam to loosen mucous and make coughing productive. Simply place a humidifier in your child’s room or allow him to inhale steam from a hot shower. Older children can stand above a kettle of boiling water, inhaling the thick, rising steam for several minutes until breathing becomes easier.
Salt Water Drops
Salt water works as a decongestant by flushing fluids from the nose. This safe and effective remedy can be used on children of all ages—even babies. Although the initial application may cause some fussing, the process is generally quick and can be done several times daily.
Herbal remedies can help decrease inflammation in the airways and make cold symptoms less severe. Some herbs are even thought to enhance the body’s immune system, which helps to reduce the duration of the illness.
There are several herbs such as echinacea, marshmallow, and fenugreek which work to reduce common cold symptoms, including cough and congestion. My favorite is Sunshine Heroes Elderberry Immune for supporting the immune system.
Hard candy or cough drops help soothe a sore throat, although chocking hazards exist for small children. Warm fluids such as tea and soup keep kids hydrated and help reduce congestion. You might also slather an herbal salve or petroleum jelly under your child’s nose to treat irritated and inflamed skin. Propping pillows under his head also aids nighttime breathing and helps promote a good night’s sleep. Older kids might enjoy sleeping in a recliner for the same purpose.