It comes with little warning. One minute your child is charging around and the next, they’re bunged up and coughing with the oh-so-common cold. With more than 200 viruses floating around, it’s no wonder the cold is so common.
While there isn’t a cure for colds, remember they usually only hang around for between four and 10 days before they vanish completely. On top of this, there are many ways for you to relieve your child’s symptoms to make them feel better.
Natural remedies, for instance, can go a long way toward relieving the symptoms caused by the virus. These are a great option if you’re hesitant on using over-the-counter medication on your child, or don’t feel completely comfortable letting your babysitter or nanny administer them.
Take a look at our 12 most popular natural cold remedies for children here:
*NB: always consult with your GP to let them know what you’re planning on using*
Sleep is truly a great medicine, keeping us healthy in good times and helping us heal when sick. Released compounds boost the immune system, so encourage napping. However, don’t layer on too many covers, as that can overheat your child, which, in turn, can elevate their temperature.
- Elevate the Mattress
Adding a bit of lift to the mattress at the head of the bed helps sinuses drain more readily, thus adding to your child’s comfort. A rolled towel or yoga mat will also do the trick.
A cool-mist humidifier goes a long way in relieving dry, stuffed up nasal passages by adding moisture to a room. Just ensure that you clean properly them after each use to make sure that mould and mildew don’t build up. You don’t want your child breathing in that!
Keeping your child hydrated is one of the best natural cold remedies. Fluids will help flush out all of those nasty germs, so push such drinks as water, fruit juices, herbal teas and broth. Jelly is another option as are cooling, soothing ice lollies. Milk is okay, too; that it thickens mucus is a disproven old wives’ tale.
- Chicken Soup
The steam from homemade or shop-bought chicken soup helps loosen congestion and the broth hydrates. Studies have also found that the chicken and other ingredients in the soup actually have an anti-inflammatory effect — a very good thing, since inflammation causes coughs and stuffed-up noses.
- Shower Steam or Warm Baths
Warm, moist air is an effective symptom reliever, so in addition to using a humidifier, turn on the shower and let the hot water flow. This will help your child breathe more easily. If your little one prefers baths, immersing them in a tub of very warm water works amazingly well in reducing a high temperature.
- Saline Nasal Spray
Many over-the-counter nose sprays can’t be used for more than three days and can often worsen symptoms. Saline nasal sprays however (simply salt and water), can be used repeatedly and can even be made at home. To make the solution, simply combine two to three teaspoons of non-iodised salt with one pint of water! Get your child to blow their nose first and then block one nostril at a time before squirting. Make sure they don’t blow their nose for several minutes afterward.
- Nasal Strips
Made for small noses, Breathe Right for Kids works by lifting up the sides of the nose and offers fuss-free, stuffy nose relief. They’re especially good for getting through the night and perfect, too, for kids who hate nose sprays.
Postnasal drip (excessive mucus in the throat) isn’t just annoying; it also causes coughing and sore throats. Instead of reaching for medicated cough drops, though, simply mix ¼ teaspoon salt into a cup of very warm water for your child to gargle with. Though not a cure, it’s sure to relieve the pain for a while and can be repeated as often as needed.
Several studies have shown that buckwheat honey is an even more effective remedy for coughs than a dose of dextromethorphan (a substance found in many cough syrups). Just be forewarned that giving honey to a child under one-years-old risks botulism, a rare but serious form of food poisoning.
- Homeopathic Preparations
Homeopathic preparations come in several forms: drops, tablets, syrup, and powder. Numerous studies have shown their effectiveness on lessening the effect of colds on kids, relieving sore throats, coughs, and congestion. For more information visit the British Homeopathic Association’s website.
Allicin, a compound found in garlic, has effective anti-bacterial properties, making it a great natural remedy for colds. The only problem you might face is getting your children to eat it. Try mincing the garlic very finely and adding it to a light pasta sauce at dinner time to avoid its detection.
* This article is for general informational purposes only. It is not intended nor implied to be providing medical advice and is not a substitute for such advice. The reader should always consult their GP concerning any medical condition or treatment plan. Neither Care.com nor the author assumes any responsibility or liability with respect to use of any information contained herein.