Taking Care of Your Kid's Cold With Natural Remedies
Posted Jun 28 2011 3:59am
Sometimes, there is just no time to get to the doctor. Or by the time you can actually get an appointment, the cold or cough has almost already run its course so whatever medication you receive is almost superfluous at this point. Most over the counter medicine, while not even that effective for adults, isn't even safe for children. So what do you do when your child has come down with a cold or cough?
Although almost no home remedy can cure a cold (it just has to run its course), many of them can relieve symptoms or at the very least, help avoid any illnesses from progressing to more dire states. Between specific tips and tricks and just generally good health advice, there are a variety of ways to care for your sick child even in the absence of a doctor.
Keep your children hydrated. Babies should continue being fed milk or formula. For children older than 12 months, I recommend water, diluted juice, or milk. Some parents argue that milk helps build up mucus, but there is actually no evidence of this at all.
The old wives' tale about honey helping coughs is true. Be careful, though, to give different doses of honey to different age groups:
Ages 2-5 – Half-teaspoon per day
Ages 6-11 – One teaspoon per day
Ages 12 and up – Two teaspoons per day
Under 2 – take care and test for any allergic response first
Don't Smoke Near Your Kids
While this is good advice to take in general, this is particularly vital when your children have a cough. Smoke can irritate inflamed thoughts and airways. Also keep children away from grills and wood-burning fires.
For sore or scratchy throats, serve your kids soft foods such as popsicles, puddings, soup, gelatin, and ice cream. While these are sugary, they are good alternatives if your child's throat is too sore to eat his or her normal diet. Never underestimate the value of a good home made chicken soup - latest research is showing that chicken soup is full of natural antiviral power.
While spicy foods are probably not best for sore throats, they are great for clearing runny noses and sinuses. Capsaicin, the chemical inside red chili peppers, is particularly good for clearing the mucus from a nose.
While studies differ somewhat on the actual results of vitamin C on colds, it has been shown to reduce the length of colds when taken regularly. This, however, means it's better to take vitamin C before you get a cold. Still it couldn't hurt to take vitamin C while you have one.
When to Call an Ambulance
If your child has trouble breathing, can't speak due to lack of breath, or has a blue or dark purple color to his or her nail bed, lips, or gums, it is absolutely vital that you call 911 so that your child can receive urgent care.
When to Dial Your Doctor
Remember that some cold symptoms could actually be severe infections that require antibiotics which you can only get from a doctor (such as strep throat). The following are signs that your child needs to see a doctor:
An exhausted child who will not get up while awake for four or more hours at a time.
If the chest feels tight or hurts.
Fever of 100.4 degrees Fahrenheit or higher in a 3 month or younger child.