As parents, our number one concern is the health and well-being of our children. We go to great lengths to ensure they are safe, healthy, and happy. However, despite all our efforts, children catch illnesses.
Unfortunately, one of the most common illnesses all parents have to deal with is the cold. A cold can make your child miserable, impacting their overall quality of life.
But how can you help your child through this illness? Here are some helpful tips to manage the common cold in kids so you can get back to enjoying life.
Understanding the Common Cold
The common cold is a viral infection primarily affecting the nose and throat. Contrary to popular belief, cold weather isn’t its cause; it’s actually caused by several different types of viruses that spread through sneezing, coughing, and direct contact.
Symptoms of Common Cold
The most common symptoms of this viral infection include:
- A runny or stuffy nose
- Sore or scratchy throat
- Decreased or no appetite
- A general feeling of being unwell
- Slight body aches
- Mild headache, sometimes accompanied by vomiting and diarrhea.
- Low-grade fever
These symptoms of a cold can leave your child feeling miserable, disrupting their sleep and making them cranky.
Managing Symptoms of Common Cold in Kids
When your child is suffering from a common cold, it can be a distressing time for both of you. However, relief can be found with some practical strategies that can help alleviate their symptoms and ensure their comfort.
Give Plenty of Fluids
When it comes to dealing with the common cold in kids, hydration is key. Make sure your child drinks plenty of fluids like water, warm tea, or any kid-friendly fluids. This helps keep them hydrated and makes it easier for them to breathe. Fluids also help to relieve nasal congestion by thinning out mucus.
Let Them Rest
Children with the common cold may face trouble with sleep. But remember, sleep is essential for fighting the cold virus and healing. Ensure your child gets plenty of rest by keeping their bed comfortable and sticking to regular bedtime routines.
This will help them feel more relaxed and comfortable, allowing them to sleep better and longer.
Using a cool-mist humidifier in your child’s room can help moisten their nasal passages and throat. This can provide significant relief, particularly if your child is experiencing dryness, soreness, or difficulty swallowing.
Keep in mind that it’s essential to clean the humidifier regularly to prevent the growth of mold or bacteria.
Alleviate Nasal Congestion
Nasal congestion can make it difficult for your child to breathe comfortably. Saline nasal drops or sprays can be used to alleviate this congestion. For infants, you can also use a bulb syringe to gently suction mucus out of their nose.
Do not use decongestant drops or sprays for your child younger than 6 years, and talk to your pediatrician before using decongestants in children older than 6 years.
Steer Clear of Medications
Don’t rush to give your child over-the-counter medication unless recommended by the pediatrician. Most OTC medications contain antihistamines that may cause drowsiness and other side effects in children.
In case your child has a fever, you can give them an acetaminophen-based medication to reduce their temperature. But, again, follow the guidelines suggested by a pediatrician.
If your child is vomiting frequently or is younger than 6 months old, never give them ibuprofen.
Maintain Good Nutrition
Even if your child’s appetite is reduced due to the cold, ensuring they’re still getting plenty of nutritious foods is important. A balanced diet will support their immune system and help their body fight off the infection more effectively.
Adding more foods rich in vitamin C, such as oranges, berries, broccoli, and kiwi fruits, to your child’s diet is also a good idea. However, keep in mind that high doses of vitamin C can cause diarrhea.
Teach Good Hygiene
Preventing the spread of the virus is crucial, especially in a household with multiple children. Teach your child with the common cold symptoms to cover their mouth and nose with a tissue or their elbow when they cough or sneeze. This can prevent the virus from spreading to others in the house.
Common Cold Treatment for Children in Purchase, NY
If your child is showing signs of a common cold or any other health concerns, don’t hesitate to contact our board-certified pediatrician here at Westchester Park Pediatrics. Our team of board-certified pediatricians is committed to ensuring your child’s comfort and swift recovery.
Our approach involves not just treating the symptoms but also educating you and your child about good hygiene practices, nutrition, and rest to prevent future occurrences and promote overall health.