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Natural Cold Treatments for Children

Jennifer Kurka, D.O.
Family Medicine, Rush Copley Medical Group

While there is no cure for the common cold, there are medications available designed to help relieve the symptoms of the cold and flu. When using cold medications, it is important to be cautious. Caregivers need to follow the directions carefully and not administer more than one product containing the same ingredient. Such combinations can lead to drug overdoses in children. You should not give cough or cold products to children younger than two years old unless directed by a physician. If you prefer to treat your children for their cold with natural remedies, here are some things you can do:

  • Blow their nose — It may sound simple, but many children tend to sniffle mucus back into their head when they have a runny nose rather than blow it in a tissue.
  • Use a salve — A small dab of mentholated salve under the nose can help open breathing passages and restore the irritated skin.
  • Use a humidifier — The air can be dry in the winter months. Cough and congestion are usually worse at night. Use a cool or warm mist humidifier to help.
  • Serve warm liquids — Offer your child plenty of warm drinks or soup. Warm liquids can help relieve congestion and soothe a sore throat.
  • Keep them rested — Staying rested when a child comes down with a cold or the flu will help their body direct its energy toward the immune battle.
  • Serve infection-fighting foods — Some good foods to give kids when they are battling a cold or flu include bananas to help soothe an upset stomach, blueberries can help curb diarrhea and cranberries can help prevent bacteria from sticking to cells lining the bladder and urinary tract.

Remember that serious conditions can disguise themselves as a cold including sinus infections, bronchitis, meningitis, strep throat and asthma. If your child has had severe symptoms, or feels progressively worse, contact your physician.