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How to Treat Colds

7 Tips For Treating Kids' Colds

Children are magnets for colds and viruses. But the American Academy of Pediatrics strongly recommends that over-the-counter cough and cold medications not be given to kids younger than 2, and studies have shown that cold and cough products don't work in kids younger than 6. So what's a desperate parent to do?

We've rounded up seven cold- and cough-fighting strategies to speed your child's recovery — without the use of over-the-counter cough and cold medicines.

Keep reading.

1. Steam

Steamy air is an excellent way to help reduce congestion. Several Circle of Moms members recommend running a hot bath or shower and keeping your child in the steamy room for as long as possible. Others, like Melissa S., recommend a humidifier for making the air more moist: "What REALLY helps is a humidifier. The cold mist helps my daughter sleep SO much better, and it helps loosen [her] congestion."


2. Vapor Rubs

Applying a vapor rub to the chest and feet is another popular way to treat children's colds. As Claudia G. relays, "I rubbed Vicks VapoRub on her chest and feet and put socks on her at bedtime and during the day. That really worked for her. I could notice the difference after just one night of doing that."

3. Head Elevation

If your child is having trouble sleeping because of his cold, try elevating his head, says Stina B.: "My kids always had difficulty sleeping when they were stuffed up . . . I'd elevate the head of their beds with a pillow under the mattress." Jen M. agrees: "Use pillows so he is sleeping in almost a sitting-up position."

4. Fluids

Staying hydrated is so important when fighting an illness. Many moms echo Hannah V.'s advice to give "lots of fluids." In addition to water, Janet M. recommends vitamin-packed orange juice. And don't forget warm, soothing liquids like chicken soup.

5. Honey

Honey shouldn't be given to children under the age of 1, but moms recommend honey as a cold remedy for older children. As Jen M. shares, "You can make a cough syrup with water, honey, and lemon juice. These help my son the most." The AAP also suggests a honey remedy for kids' colds: "Try half a teaspoon of honey for children aged 2 to 5 years, one teaspoon for children aged 6 to 11 years, and two teaspoons for children 12 years and older."

6. 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, many moms recommend using a nasal aspirator like the Snotsucker to get it out, since most kids aren't yet pros at blowing their noses. Melissa B. shares: "I use saline nasal spray and a good old [fashioned] bulb syringe to suck it all out! It's non-pharmaceutical and it really helps break up the mucus."

7. Fever Medication

If your child has a fever, the AAP recommends acetaminophen for a baby 6 months or younger, and either acetaminophen or ibuprofen for a child older than 6 months. Enlist your doctor's help in determining the right dosage for your child, and always double-check the concentration on the bottle.

The preceding information is for educational purposes only. For specific medical advice, diagnoses, and treatment, consult your doctor.

Image Source: Shutterstock
Join The Conversation
anonymousanonymous anonymousanonymous 3 years
Wow, that was so helpful!! I would have never thought of any of these ideas that my grandmother and mother had taught us as we were growing up. Does the author think we are all morons?
Chipper47909 Chipper47909 3 years
Uggh. Vicks. Here is the short list of toxic ingredients: Camphor**: Contributes to the vapor quality. Toxic levels are anything over 11 percent. Vick's has 5 percent. Turpentine Oil: Also aids in the vapor qualities. Also, it is a paint solvent. Laureth 7: which comes from ethylene oxide and lauryl alcohol, serves an emulsifier. A common, probably too common, component found in detergents, cleaners and paint. Petrolatum: THIS is what make's Vick's, Vick's. The silky, thick salve substance you scoop out of the container and rub on chest, neck and nose. Derived from petroleum (aka crude oil) it is approved by the USFDA as a glide in ointments and cosmetics. Petrolatum has been found in cancerous tumors (breast, coincidently the same area where we like to RUB Vick's), causes suffocation of the skin, premature aging and aggravated acne.
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