10 Tips and home remedies for child’s cold
A cold (also called a common cold or viral rhinitis) is the most common infection in the United States infecting millions each year. It is a contagious disease affecting the upper respiratory system, and this infection is caused by several types of viruses. Over 200 types of viruses have been identified to cause the common cold. Most of the cold cases are caused by viruses belonging to the rhinovirus family. Other common causes of cold include coronavirus, adenovirus, and respiratory syncytial virus (RSV). Most people with common cold recover in about 7-10 days.
The common cold is one of the main reasons for missing schools in children and missing work in adults. Children are affected more commonly with cold than adults, who may have an average of two to three colds each year. One can avoid getting a cold by following hygiene practices, such as frequent hand washing, avoiding close contact with sick people, and not touching the face with unwashed hands. Although most people catch a common cold in the winter and spring, it is possible to get a cold at any time of the year. There is no evidence whether going out in cold weather can make you more vulnerable to catch a common cold.
The symptoms of a common cold typically subside in 3-10 days. They generally begin with a sore throat and runny nose. Other symptoms include coughing, sneezing, fever (particularly in children), headache, body ache, and stuffy nose. Since the symptoms of other respiratory infections, including flu and COVID-19, may be similar to a common cold, you must consult a doctor for a definitive diagnosis. For providing comfort to your child from a cold, you may try the following safe and effective ten home remedies:
- Adequate rest: A cold may perturb your child’s sleep. Make sure they get plenty of rest to compensate for that.
- Clothing: The clothing should not be too thick or too thin. Make sure the child stays warm and comfortable.
- Saline nasal drops: You can get over the counter (OTC) saline nasal drops. They contain salt and water that can be instilled in the nose twice a day to relieve congestion.
- Adequate hydration: Drinking plenty of fluids including water may help in faster recovery. Warm water with some lemon and honey will provide some Vitamin C and energy to the sick child. A cup of warm water with a pinch of turmeric may work wonders at bedtime.
- Humidifier: Dryness in the air may worsen the symptoms. You may use a cool-mist humidifier in the room for increasing the air moisture.
- Petroleum jelly: A cold can make the nostrils sore and sensitive. Dab a little petroleum jelly over the nares to provide comfort to your child and ease breathing.
- Chicken soup: Although there is not enough scientific evidence to support the role of warm chicken soup, many people report that it helps in relieving congestion and aids quicker recovery.
- OTC cough drops: For kids older than 6 years of age, you can give cough drops or hard candy for relieving sore throat.
- Warm bath and steam: A warm bath can comfort the stuffiness and aches. A heating pad may also help provide comfort from aches and pains. Make sure that the temperature is not too high for the child. Making your child sit in a steam-filled bathroom may also ease body ache and congestion.
- OTC pain-relieving medications: You may give medications, such as Acetaminophen or Ibuprofen, according to your child’s weight and age. Never give aspirin to your child or a teen because it may be harmful.
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Cold and Cough Medicine for Infants and Children
The safety of giving infants and children over-the-counter (OTC) cold and cough medicine is important for caregivers to understand. While there is no "gold standard" recommendation for giving infants and children OTC cold and cough medicine for fever, aches, cough, and runny nose, a few standards have been recommended.
The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that OTC cold and cough medicine only be used in children age four years and older.
The American College of Chest Physicians recommend that these medicines only be used in children age 15 years and older.
The FDA recommends that OTC cold and cough medicine be used in children 2 years of age and older.
However, there is agreement in regard to which OTC medications should not be used in children under the age of four (or the age of two, depending upon which guidelines are used), and they are 1) certain antihistamines like brompheniramine, chlorpheniramine maleate, and diphenhydramine (Benadryl); 2) cough expectorants (guaifenesin); 3) cough suppressants (dextromethorphan, DM); and 4) decongestants (pseudoephedrine and phenylephrine).
Aspirin should never be given to infants, children, and adolescents due to the possibility of a rare, but often severe and even fatal illness called Reye's syndrome.
FDA. "Most Young Children with a Cough or Cold Don't Need Medicines." July 18, 2017.
FDA. "Use Caution When Giving Cough and Cold Products to Kids." Updated: Nov 04, 2016.
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