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Home Remedies > Natural Cures > Kids and the Common Cold
Kids and the Common Cold
Home Remedies - Natural Cure

Young Boy with Cold Cuddled Up with Blankets Sleeping.

 
 
 

Helping Your Child when they have a Cold

I love watching my kids roam and explore their environments wherever we go, but what I don’t like is the germs they pick up, especially when it leads to a cold. I hate to see my kids sick.

On average kids get the common cold three or more times a year and each cold can last 7-10 days, so that’s a lot of time being sick.

Here are some reminders on how to keep those colds to a minimum.

Spreading Cold Germs

Colds are contagious and there are many myths on how we get colds, but no matter what the old wives tales say we get colds from the spreading of germs. The real question is how do we spread those germs?

Most of the time kids are collecting germs by touching doorknobs, faucets, toys and even holding another’s hand. Once the germs get on their hands, they transfer them when they touch their eyes, nose, or mouth.

Coughing, sneezing or kissing is a few different ways of spreading germs as they are transferred from one person to another.

Cold Symptoms

Sometimes we are not always sure that our kids are sick or if they are just looking for a day off of school. It can take a day or two after being exposed for symptoms to appear, so be on the watch for:

  • Low fever
  • Sore throat
  • Body aches
  • Stuffy, runny nose
  • Cough

The Flu is a different virus than the common cold and generally you feel much sicker, more achy, and all over more miserable.

Natural Cures for Relieving Your Child's Cold Symptoms

Once we are sure our kids are truly sick, here are some ways to relieve cold symptoms.

  1. Encourage your child to drink plenty of fluids. Try giving them a cup of peppermint tea, kids generally like the taste and it is soothing for the throat and nasal passages. Add honey to sweeten it, if your child thinks it tastes bitter.
  2. Give them a bowl of soup, yes, we always hear about chicken soup, but any broth based soup will help as it is the hot fluid that helps to open up the nasal passages. Also generally broth soups contain other healthy ingredients, like lean protein and vegetables which will help your child get some good nutrition while they are sick.
  3. Make sure your kids get plenty of rest. Curtail their regular activities and prop them up on the couch with their favorite books or let them watch their favorite video. Usually when they are not feeling well, they don’t complain about being confined.
  4. If your child is older with a sore throat, you might try a saltwater gargle. Talk to your pediatrician for the correct measurements. Usually it’s about 1/4 teaspoon salt dissolved in 8 ounces of warm water.
  5. Using a cold mist humidifier in your child’s bedroom at night can help soothe a sore throat and dry nasal passages, but make sure to maintain the cleanliness of your humidifier, otherwise you could make your family more sick.

Be careful about giving your child over the counter cold medications, there are many restrictions in regards to dosage, especially for children under five. Also make sure to read ingredients carefully so you are not giving multiple doses of the same active ingredient, which can lead to accidental overdose. If you have any concerns, talk to your pediatrician.

Even if you take medication to relive symptoms, most experts agree it won’t do anything to shorten your time with a cold. The best thing is rest and fluids.

When to Call the Doctor?

Sometimes what seems to be a regular cold can be a sign of another illness. Don’t hesitate to call the doctor if your child:

  • Has a high fever over 100.4F
  • If your child is throwing up
  • Complains about their ear hurting
  • Has a wheezing or barking cough

Many doctors’ offices have a nurse line, so if you’re still not sure if your child is just complaining or if it might be something more, call and ask to speak to a nurse, after hearing about your particular child and the situation, they will be able to determine if you need to bring your child in or if they can wait it out.

Preventing Colds

This best way to prevent colds is hand washing, hand washing, hand washing. Kids should be taught to wash their hands with soap and water for at least 15 seconds.  A good way to help them know how much time that is, is to find a song that lasts for 15 seconds, or if they have a shorter favorite, they could sing it 2-3 times.

Here is a good article about hand washing from the American Academy of Pediatrics:

Cold Prevention Hand Washing

Teach kids to cough or sneeze into a tissue or their sleeve at the elbow instead of their hand. The hard part about a tissue is they might not always have one handy, their elbow is always attached.

Staying away from sick people is one way to lessen the likelihood of catching or spreading germs, but this is easier said than done, especially when kids are going to school with other kids or a family member is sick.

If your child is sick with a cold, it is a good case for keeping them home when they are sick. When they do return to school remind them not to share cups, utensils, food and to wash their hands frequently. This is good advice all the time to keep from sharing germs.

If we can keep in mind some of this information when the cold season is upon us we will be ready to provide comfort to our sick children and get them healthy again.

 
 

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