At-home Remedies for Cold and Flu Season

Sometimes, at-home remedies are the best medicine.

It’s cold and flu season, and if you have kids, there are few things you dread more. Hearing your child whimpering in pain in the middle of the night with a high fever and a painful cough can make any parent’s stomach twist in knots and send them into a panic. Not long ago, if your little one was sick you could give them cold and flu medicine, but then people began to realize that not only did most children’s cold and flu medicines not work, but they had negative side-effects. And when the medicine was tied to several deaths, the FDA pulled children’s cold and flu medicines from the shelves.

So now, what’s a parent to do when their baby is sick? Standing idly by and watching them suffer through the symptoms while the illness runs its course is not an option. Luckily, there are several at-home treatments that can bring relief and help make the child more comfortable until they are well again.

One of the most common at-home treatments is a humidifier. Keeping the air moist helps them breathe. If the child has a barking cough or is having a hard time breathing, keeping them in the bathroom while a hot shower steams up the room may bring relief, or taking them outside in the cold air for a short time can also help. Honey has actually been proven to work just as well or better than cough syrup for soothing coughs and sore throats, and it has antibacterial properties that help fight the illness (avoid honey if your baby is under one. Honey can cause botulism in infants.)

If the child is stuffed up, elevating her bed by putting books under the legs at one end can help your little one sleep better. A bulb syringe and a saline spray can be your best friend, although the baby probably won’t like it (if she cries, just remember that it really is helping her feel better. You aren’t just being cruel).

Keeping your child hydrated with ice pops or Pedialyte will help fight dehydration, which is especially dangerous for infants, because they are so tiny and their bodies can get dehydrated very quickly.

Alternate acetaminophen and ibuprofen every six hours to help bring down a fever and fight body aches and pains. While fighting the fever won’t actually fight the illness, it will make them more comfortable when they’re sick. A lukewarm bath can also help bring down a fever.

If your baby is tugging at her ear, running a fever, and probably cranky, it might be because of an ear infection. While most doctors will prescribe antibiotics, older kids can usually fight the infection off on their own. To help them feel better, apply heat on the sore ear and give them pain reliever.

Vapor rubs and hot beverages all help, too. And of course, chicken noodle soup. It isn’t just a wives’ tale that chicken noodle soup helps – it’s been proven to have something (they aren’t sure what) that keeps the white blood cells from triggering the body into making mucus that makes runny noses and coughs.

If your child is very sick or has a really high fever, calling a doctor is usually best. Otherwise, or if you called the doctor and they told you there was nothing they could do but let it run it’s course, trying at-home remedies on your child will definitely help.

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