Cold and flu season is officially here and if you live in a home with children, you may already be experiencing runny noses and coughs. As a parent, it is only natural to want to address cold and flu symptoms quickly and effectively to prevent prolonged discomfort and spreading to the rest of the family. It’s not always easy to know the best way to treat these symptoms and how soon you should take your kids to the doctor.
Here are some basic treatments you might try the next time your child shows symptoms of a cold or flu:
For Runny Noses
In some ways, a runny nose is actually a good thing as the body works to get rid of germs that may be causing your child to be sick. However, when there is too much mucus, it can cause discomfort, headaches and sometimes make it hard to breathe. To treat a runny nose, try using saline drops. Just a few drops in each nostril can help remove mucus and make breathing and eating easier for your child. It’s also a good idea to remove any dried mucus that may be present on your child’s nose.
Hearing your child cough can be almost as painful for you as it is for them. Be sure you give your child plenty to drink as this helps prevent mucus from thickening. Hot soups and liquids can help to ease the pain associated with a cough and loosen mucus as well. You might also try using a cool-mist humidifier in child’s bedroom at night. The moisture in the air can help to reduce coughing.
Try Soft Back Pats
If you sense that your child has congestion in his or her chest, gentle pats on their back can help. Lay your baby or child on your knees and then gently pat their back with a cupped hand. This can help to loosen up the mucus in the chest and allow your child to cough it up to get it out of their system.
When to Use Medicine
Many parents find that their natural reaction to a child with cold or flu symptoms is to give them medicine right away. It’s important to keep in mind that not all symptoms require treatment. If your child is still eating and drinking and staying active, it’s okay to wait to and see. If the symptoms continue to get worse, you might consider cold and cough medicines, although we strongly suggest you avoid giving children under the age of 4 those types of medicines.
Once you see that your child’s symptoms are slowing them down or affecting their eating and drinking habits, it may be time to bring them in to see a doctor. Remember that AllKids Urgent Care is open everyday until 10:00pm. We are here specifically for children and can help address their symptoms right away.