It’s that wonderful time of year when our schools and daycare centers are full of germs waiting to hitch rides home with our kids. Colds can be the most prevalent, as the symptoms often creep up slowly and kids are contagious before you can even tell they are sick. So while prevention is optimal, it’s good to have some tricks up your sleeve if illness is unavoidable. Here are a few things to help make your sick child more comfortable:
Steam. Steamy air is an excellent way to help reduce congestion. Try running a hot bath or shower and keeping your child in the steamy room for as long as possible. You might also try a humidifier in the child’s room to help them sleep more comfortably.
Head Elevation. If you can prop them up on enough pillows so that they are almost in a sitting position, their sinuses will drain and they will breathe more easily.
Saline Drops and Nasal Aspirators. Saline nose drops can be used to “clean out the sinuses” of children of any age. After the mucus is thinned and loosened, have them blow their nose; or you can help by using a nasal aspirator to remove most of the mucous. This is a fast, convenient way to make breathing easier without using drug decongestants.
Fluids. Fluids are not just important for fighting illness, they are also vital to help keep children comfortable when they’re running a fever. Even drinking plenty of pure water is helpful. Orange juice is an excellent choice because it not only hydrates the body but is loaded with vitamin C, which may shorten the duration of the cold. To help 'push fluids', try giving the child a glass of 70% filtered water mixed with 30% organic juice, such as orange (with pulp, which has the highest vitamin C content), cranberry or apple juice. Chicken soup is also a tried-and-true cold remedy that brings with it the benefit of warmth and steam.