What To Do When Your Child Has a Cold

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When my first child was born over 15 years ago, things were different.  When she had a cold or a cough, even when she was a small infant, I could buy cold and cough remedies over the counter.  I personally felt that these medications helped. 

Fourteen years later when my son was born, things were a little bit different.  Recently, the FDA (Food and Drug Administration) here in the United States pulled such products off the shelves and gave various reasons for their decision.  I was simply shocked.  Mostly, I was concerned because my son had a cold and I had no idea what to do!  I had 4 children prior to having him and I had used the medications with all of them.  None of the older children had any ill effects from the medication either. Nevertheless, the FDA claimed that there was a health risk and that because of this, the medications should never be used on young children.

Last week, the FDA announced that it does not recommend cold and cough products for any child under the age of 4!  Some experts actually say that they would like to see that age limit for such medications raised to 6.  

Luckily, I’ve found some tricks that seem to help my son when he is ill.  The tricks are much like those used by my grandmother when my mother was very young.  Isn’t ironic how everything seems to go “full circle”?

 Stay Hydrated

Keeping your child hydrated is very important.  Sometimes though, it’s difficult to get little ones with stuffy noses to drink because they have trouble breathing while they are sucking on their bottle or cup.  You can also give popsicles to your child!  It also helps to keep offering liquids frequently throughout the day.

Open the Airways

It is easier for your child to breathe if his nose is clear.  It is difficult to actually accomplish that, especially if he is too young to blow his nose!  Saline drops put into the nose will loosen the mucous.  After a few seconds, you can use a nasal aspirator to clear out the nasal passages.  Be careful though to not put the nasal aspirator too far into the nasal passage, or you can irritate the nose further!  Some aspirators actually have “safety” knobs to help you with this.

Using a humidifier or warm mist vaporizer is also a big help.  Just make sure to be extra cautious when using these items in a baby’s room.  It’s important to make sure that the cords are far away from the crib and it’s also important to not allow your child to touch or go near the vaporizer when it’s running!  The vapor is hot and your child could get a burn.

Get Rest

One of the best ways to fight a cold or a cough is to get lots of rest, and to let your body heal itself.  You may find that your child is tired and sleeps a lot, or he may not want to go to sleep because his nose is stuffy.  Either way, it’s important to encourage your child to rest.

Deal with the Symptoms

I have also found that giving my child infant acetaminophen when he has a cold helps to make my child more comfortable.  I know of other parents who use ibuprofen when their child has an illness.  This also works.  It’s important to make sure that you are dosing your child correctly and at the correct intervals as well.

When your young child is ill, it is a stressful time.  You can help your child through his illness though by following the above tips.  Here’s wishing you a healthy, stress free cold and flu season!


Evelyn Persons says:

Nosefrida to the rescue! It is a great nasal aspirator that Dr Sears recommends…. it has been such a lifesaver for us with our two kids when they have colds.

Michelle says:

Thanks for the suggestion Evelyn!

I’ll have to give this product a try.

[…] consequences for his health. Because of that, I am careful. If my children even have a hint of the sniffles, I don’t take them to family gatherings where he’ll be present. It’s not worth […]

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