A sick child generally translates to a miserable household as frantic parents work to keep them happy and comfortable. The common cold is the most common infectious disease, according to Kids Health and 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.
If your child is old enough (older than 5 or 6) you may also be able to diffuse some essential oils at a very low dilution rate. Children are very sensitive to oils so use caution if you do this. Cedarwood, Siberian Fir as well as Lavender for relaxation may be helpful.
You may also want to try a mucous or inflammation reducing diet. Many foods such as dairy, gluten and sugar may contribute to mucous or inflammation so you may want to eliminate or cut down on these foods. You should also consider increasing green leafy vegetables, water, and whole fruits. Other have increased foods rich in magnesium such as avocados and bananas. Leafy greens are also high in magnesium. You may wan to try Cod Liver Oil. I remember when I was little I had a lot of sinus problems and my mother gave me Cod Liver Oil which is high in Vitamins A and D.
Salt Water or Saline Drops
Salt water or Saline drops work well as a natural 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 may help to reduce the duration of the illness. Echinacea and Chamomile Tea are great herbal teas that may be beneficial to help support their immune system and to help them relax. Only use Chamomile tea if they are not sensitive to ragweed. My favorite herbal combination for supporting their immune system is Sunshine Heroes Elderberry Immune.
Hard candy or cough drops may help soothe a sore throat, however, chocking hazards exist for small children. Warm fluids such as tea and soup keep kids hydrated and help reduce congestion. Herbal salves are also helpful. You might want to slather an herbal salve under your child’s nose to treat irritated and inflamed skin. Propping pillows under their head also aids nighttime breathing and helps promote a good night’s sleep. Older kids might even enjoy sleeping in a recliner for the same purpose.