With cold and flu season in full swing, it’s only a matter of time before kids start experiencing coughs and colds. As a parent, you’re determined to help them manage their illness and get them feeling better as quickly as possible. While there is much information online about what works to soothe kids on the road to recovery, not every method is effective. Whether using cough medicine for kids or giving children all the medication you think they need, read on for what works well and what is best to skip this season.
What Works: Cough Medicine for Kids
If there’s one thing you keep stocked in your medicine cabinet this fall and winter, make it cough medicine for kids. A cough suppressant will help your child temporarily control cough, relieve chest congestion, and help thin and loosen mucus. Cough medicine will allow your child to feel a bit better and is a great way to ensure they get the rest they need, which is essential to helping them recover.
Skip: Throat Lozenges for Young Kids
While throat lozenges can be a great on-the-go method for soothing a sore throat and reducing a cough, it’s best to save this for older children. Throat lozenges can be a choking hazard for young children, particularly those under five. Skip using these for young children and if you have older children in the house using them, make sure they are out of reach of the little ones.
What Works: Drinking Plenty of Fluids
Keeping your sick child hydrated is essential in helping them fight off their cold or cough. Ensure they are drinking plenty of water, which can help hydrate and thin out any mucus in the throat or chest. Citrus juices such as orange juice are full of vitamin C, which can be beneficial in fighting off a cold. The juice can feel soothing on a sore throat as well. It’s not just cold beverages that can relieve your kids when they are sick. Warm soups and beverages can soothe an irritated throat and loosen any congestion.
Skip: Using Too Many Medicines
There are many medicines to give your child when they are feeling sick, many of which relieve specific ailments. However, you want to be careful with giving your children too many different products. For example, if your child has a fever, you may provide them with acetaminophen. If you then want to give cold medicine, that could also contain acetaminophen, you could wind up giving your child a double dose. You also want to be wary of any medication your child takes to ensure no interference, which may require speaking with your doctor or pharmacist. If you need to double up on medicine, read all the ingredients thoroughly to avoid giving your child too much of a specific medicine.
What Works: Tools to Reduce Congestion
Congestion is one of the most irritating symptoms of a cold or flu and often results in a sleepless night. When lying down, the congestion can build up and make it difficult to sleep, but some tools can help relieve congestion in the evening. Use a cool mist humidifier in your child’s bedroom to help loosen up mucus and congestion. Avoid a warm mist humidifier as these can irritate the nasal passage, and clean the cool mist humidifier according to the directions. A topical rub containing menthol, eucalyptus oil, or camphor can also help clear the nasal passage.
Skip: Letting Children Self-Medicate
Giving your older children a bit of responsibility for taking care of their illness can be tempting to help them learn, but it’s not always a good idea. It’s too easy for kids to lose track of when they took their medication or which ones they took, which can result in incorrect dosing. Instead, keep your medicines out of reach, in a safe place, and medicate with your child. You can still use this moment to teach them proper self-health while providing guidance.
Sickness often feels inevitable with kids during the colder months of the year. Even with all your precautions, the cold and flu can still wreak havoc on your home. As you prepare by stocking your medicine cabinet with hot soups, cough medicine for kids, and more, keep these tips in mind, so you know which methods are effective and which ones aren’t to keep your kids safe, and you are well-equipped to help your child recover from whatever ails them.