Soothing Your Child’s Cold

Sometimes, there’s not much you can do to keep your kids from picking up a cold this time of year. To help you cope, we’ve rounded up the best cold-fighting strategies here.

Have Her Take it Easy Position your child in bed or on the couch, and ensure she has a supply of magazines, books, music, or favorite movies. Do what you can to help her get a good night’s sleep too – this will help her immune system fight the virus. If she is having trouble sleeping due to congestion, try elevating her head with extra pillows.

Focus on Fluids Hydration is key in fighting illness, so make sure she gets plenty to drink. If your child is sick of water, offer fruit juice, Pedialyte, Gatorade, ice pops, or icy drinks. Hot chicken soup counts too!

Use Saline Nasal saline spray – or saline drops – is one of the safest and most effective ways to treat a child’s cold. This saltwater solution will clear your child’s sinuses and make it easier for her to breathe.

Administer Meds Like an Expert  It can be confusing to know which medications are safe and which ones are not for your child. If your child is under 4 years old, the only over-the-counter medications she should receive are for pain or fever (e.g., Children’s Tylenol). For children ages 4 to 6, over-the-counter cold and cough medications should only be used if recommended by a doctor. After age 6, these medications can safely relieve symptoms – just be sure to follow dosage instructions on the package.

Make the Air Moist Run a cool mist humidifier in your child’s room to help moisten her nasal passages and reduce congestion. Don’t forget to clean it daily, though, as mold and mildew can aggravate symptoms.

Call Your Pediatrician  If your child’s fever lasts more than a few days, her symptoms seem to be getting worse, or she is having difficulty breathing, call your pediatrician. Also, any sickness that lasts longer than 10 days warrants a visit to the doctor.