This post is written by a nurse and mom. All tips are given as suggestions and from health care experience. Please always consult your doctor before using any new medications or remedies on your child.
Fall has officially begun, and if your household is anything like ours, so have the illnesses. Once you have a toddler it’s like preventing colds is a foreign language. And for us, between my job and the sick kiddos there, it’s even harder to keep germs at bay. In conclusion, both Tate and I have had continuous colds since the beginning of the month.
Disclosure: Some of the links below are affiliate links, meaning, at no additional cost to you, I will earn a commission if you click through and make a purchase.
One of the hardest things is having him sick. It not only changes the trajectory of any plans we had that week but it also causes added stress to me and him during the already rough time. Many times we’re unsure of what to do or even where to start when our child is sick. Well look no further mama. Below I have given you a comprehensive list of 5 of the best general tips you can do when your sweet baby is sick.
Here are 5 cold tips to help with your child’s cold symptoms:
- Suction. With most colds the major problem is congestion. Many parents enter the emergency room stating their child isn’t eating and has had decreased output. When asked if they have congestion almost always the answer is yes. Think about it like this if you treat your child’s congestion they can breathe while they are nursing or drinking and in turn are more likely to eat more consequently having more output. My favorite tool as both a mom and a nurse is suction. My personal favorite is the nose- frida. So many moms complain about the thought of “sucking” your baby’s boogies but I promise the filter inside catches everything and in my 2 years of using it no snot has ever gotten I my mouth. However, a regular ol’ bulb suction would work just as fine.
- Cool-mist humidifier. This device has many uses. Whether congestion, nose bleeds, coughing or sore/ dry throat is the issue this can help. Cool mist humidifiers add moisture into the dry air which can help with nose bleeds and sore throat by keeping air taken in from being so dry and causing irritation to the nasal and throat passage. It also helps with cough for the same reasons. With congestion it makes it so the air taken in is easier to breathe since it’s not as thick and muggy. At my emergency department we almost always recommend cool mist humidifiers to hot ones due to the high occurrence of spills and burns to children. However, if you are in cooler temperatures the air could also have the opposite affect and a warm humidifier might be necessary.
- Increase liquids. This tip is also useful for many things but the biggest is it helps thin the extra secretions that are created when you are sick and makes them easier for your body to get rid of. Stagnant phlegm makes one prone to pneumonia. Also, if you have a fever your body has lost lots of fluid and this helps replace it. Dehydration is one of the main things us as health care providers worry about when your child is sick and not taking in many fluids. Dehydration can be noticed by signs of decreased urine outputs (less than 8-10 wet diapers in 24 hrs), no tears when crying, dryness in the mouth, etc). One of the best liquids we recommend is Pedialyte in children who are younger and Gatorade in those a bit older. These two liquids help replenish the electrolytes lost during a fever or diarrhea/ vomiting episode.
- Rest. Similar to when you are sick, when your child is ill they feel more tired than usual. It might be helpful to allow them ample rest time which may include keeping them home from school or daycare. If they indeed do have a fever they must stay home for at least until they are 24hours without fever, as they are considered contagious. When given time to rest the body can fight the infection or illness properly and thus may shorten the length of illness.
- Medications/ additives:
- Honey. If your child is older than 2 then honey is the best “cough syrup” you can use. It is a natural ingredient that helps loosen up phlegm and prevent coughing spells. Typically we recommend no more than 6tsp of honey a day. If this is your child’s first time having honey, just like I discussed before about introducing new foods, introduce the ingredient and then do not introduce any other new foods for about a week to be able to watch and isolate a reaction if there was to be one.
- Tylenol. This is a fever reducing medication that can be used on babies over 12 weeks of age. If your child is under 12 weeks and you think they have a fever (100.4+) take them in to see a doctor immediately. The best way to take a temperature is rectally in any child under 2, under the arm in children who do not understand the concept of closing their mouth and keeping the probe under their tongue, and orally in any child who does understand the concept. However if your child is over 12 weeks Tylenol is safe to use. Tylenol can be administered every FOUR HOURS and is one of my go to medications for cold time symptoms. For example if you give it to your child at 12pm the next dose would be 4pm. Below you can find a dosing chart.
- Ibuprofen. Another fever reducing medication however, this one can only be used on babies over 6 MONTHS and is to be administered every SIX HOURS. Using the example above, if you give this to your child at 12pm it cannot be given again until 6pm. Dosing chart is also below.
As a parent seeing your child sick is one of the worst feelings. You worry about their well being and if you are in fact doing everything you could be doing for them. One of the best things you could do for your child in addition to all of the tips is to remain calm and be their comfort. I’m not sure about you but when I am sick I still want my mom sometimes. And no matter what she suggests it’s gold and I’m running with it. You have the power to be that same person with your child. You got this mama don’t worry! Next week tune in to see how you can care for yourself physically and emotionally during your child’s cold spell. Because as we know, taking care of your child is so very important but…
Take care of you too mama,