Colds and flu viruses are back again—and as is so often the case—it’s young kids who tend to be the super-spreaders… sharing every snotty nose, sore throat, cough, and unusual rash far and wide!
Here’s how to make sure your family bounces back – quicker than ever…
Before I dish out any advice, let me start with a disclaimer: I’m not a doctor, but with 5 small kids who seemed to catch anything and everything between them, I’ve been to enough doctors to have funded a medical degree!
My first few kids seemed to always end up at the doctor’s, with every common cold turning into secondary bacterial infections.
Then one day, our pediatrician took pity on us and shared 4 things to do as soon as a ‘cold’ front starts approaching… It’s worked for us, and I’m hoping it will help you too.
The next time your little one walks in with a sniffle, make sure they get plenty of rest and fluids, and then proceed as follows:
1. PUMP UP THE C’s + Z’s
Look, I’d love to say we take our vitamins and supplements daily, but the truth is, we hardly ever remember—except when there’s a virus afoot.
As soon as anyone in the family starts feeling a little run down, with a scratchy throat or a sniffly nose, I haul out the Vitamin C powder and the Zinc supplements (for everyone).
According to our doc, all the pediatricians give their own kids Zinc as an immune booster. Apparently, it helps to give the body a real fighting chance.
2. SALINE IS THE SOLUTION!
Apparently, a lot of nasty bugs and bacteria really hate salt. It’s antibacterial by nature, and also not at all harmful to humans—a win-win really!
So, as soon as you hear the slightest sniffle, arm yourself with a saline nasal spray and get shooting!
Saline nasal sprays are safe to use on kids, thinning and loosening thick mucus inside the nasal passages whilst blasting out the nasties. Spray those noses at least three times a day until symptoms abate.
3. DON’T RUSH FOR THE DECONGESTANTS
Many over-the-counter cold medications alleviate the symptoms of a stuffy, runny nose by drying out the sinuses. While this can provide temporary relief, if used too often, it can cause the mucus to get ‘sticky’ and stick around.
Only use this type of medication if it’s safe to do so (get your doctor’s approval before administering any cold medications to an infant) and even then, try to use it as little as possible, so as to give the snot a chance to actually loosen up and slide away!
Keep in mind that the snot itself is not the problem – it’s a natural symptom of your body fighting the real problem (the virus or infection).
4. KEEP IT RUNNING!
Mucolytics are a type of over-the-counter medication (for over-2s) that help to thin and break down the mucus so that it doesn’t get thick and sticky and stick around.
It’s the exact opposite of a decongestant really. And it’s often just what the doctor orders when a cold strikes. These meds don’t increase the quantity of mucus or fluid in the airways — they only thin it out.
This helps to prevent the development of secondary infections.
Why do little kids seem to catch every cold?
Kids’ immune systems are developing, so they pick up everything.
When children mingle with lots of strangers for the first time (for example, if they’ve recently started daycare) their immune systems are being exposed to bacteria and viruses they’ve never seen before.
According to leading research, kids younger than 6 average about six to eight colds per year. While it’s almost impossible to prevent our kids from bringing colds home, it is possible to prevent many of these viruses from overstaying their welcome and leading to secondary infections.
Some important disclaimers:
If you are concerned about your child’s health, and/or their symptoms worsen or do not improve within a few days, please consult your doctor.
If your child is always snotty or has red, itchy eyes, or a constant sore throat – they may have allergies. In this case, no amount of vitamins, zinc, or mucolytics is going to help.
Rather, your doctor might prescribe specific allergy meds.
You’ve got this mum!
Any other tips you’d like to share with the rest of us? Comment below to share x